Hester Bateman Silver Given To U.Va. Art Museum In Honor Of First Darden Faculty Member
February 11, 2005 --
What does a former Darden faculty member, the U.Va. Art Museum, and a pair of 18th century silver sauce boats from California have in common?
Seemingly nothing, until the art museum received a recent gift — a pair of Georgian silver sauce boats in memory of Mr. and Mrs. John Franklin Forbes of San Francisco — currently on view in the museum’s Pine Room Gallery.
The silver comes from the California Historical Society, which now restricts its collection to California. The pieces were crafted by Hester Bateman (1709-1794), who was the most famous of the late 18th century female silversmiths. Widowed at the age of 51, she took over her husband's metal smithy in Bunhill Row on the fringes of the city of London. Bateman did not retire until she was more than 80 years old, after she developed the shop from a single outworker's hut into a gigantic silversmith business that she ran with her sons Peter and Jonathan. Jonathan's wife, Ann — a silver worker in her own right — and their son William, also joined the family business. The ware that this group fashioned, under Hester Bateman's guidance, ranks in quality and design with that of the best 18th and early 19th century products.
The vessels originally were given to the California Historical Society as a joint gift from John Douglas Forbes, son of the honorees, and his children, Pamela and Peter Forbes. They asked the society to present these non-Californian works to the University of Virginia because John Douglas Forbes was the first professor appointed to the new graduate business school, the Darden School, and today is the sole survivor of the original Darden faculty.
For more information, call the University of Virginia Art Museum at (434) 924-3592 or visit the Web site: www.virginia.edu/artmuseum.
Contact: Jane Ford, (434) 924-4298