ANTIQUE SILVER AUGUSTINE COURTAULD
The Huguenot family of Courtauld, like many other French Protestants, fled France and emigrated to England in the 1680s. But it wasn't until 1696 that Augustine became an English citizen at the age of eleven. In common with many other Huguenot refugees, his father chose for his son the career of goldsmith, which at that time was a suitable trade for gentlemen that covered silversmithing as well. He was suitably apprenticed to another famous Huguenot silversmith, Simon Pantin.
In 1708 Courtauld finished his apprenticeship, became Free of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, and entered his first mark. In the following year he married Anne Bardin, by whom he had eight children.
The working life of Augustine Courtauld can be divided into two halves. From 1708 to 1729 he worked in St. Martins Lane, London, and made many high quality items in the Britannia standard of silver. After 1729 he moved to larger premises in London, where he continued to design and manufacture items of fine quality, but in the slightly lower Sterling standard. This basically reflected the hallmarking changes that were introduced during this period. By 1696, the conversion of silver coin into silver items had so interfered with trade that an Act of government was passed raising the standard of manufactured silver items from Sterling to Britannia standard. This was obviously cheaper for the government of the time to carry out rather than changing the standard of the coin of the realm. This continued until 1720 when the Sterling standard was restored.
Augustine Courtauld consistently produced many fine examples of Queen Anne style silver based on designs provided by his master, Simon Pantin. Because of this he has never been considered as an innovator, and indeed when the new Rococo fashion was sweeping England in the latter part of his career, he refused to entertain any thoughts of deviating from the original plainer designs that had brought him so much success.
Probably his most important piece was made for the Corporation of the City of London, and is on display at the Mansion House. Made in 1730 this was the State Salt and is a superb example of the silversmiths craft. His other works included large two-handled trophies, salvers, and tableware items that were produced as presentation gifts for many notable families and institutions, including the Russian Royal family.
Augustine and Anne Courtauld both died within a few weeks of each other in March, 1751, which was the same year that Paul De Lamerie died.