Bateman, Hester (1709–1794)

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Bateman, Hester (1709–1794)

English silversmith. Born Hester Needham in 1709; died in 1794; married John Bateman; children: five.

Without the benefit of a formal education, Hester Bateman, who is now regarded as one of the 18th century's greatest silversmiths, probably learned her craft from her husband John, who worked in silver and gold. Following his death in 1761, she took over the family business and registered her own hallmark, "H.B." For a number of years, with her two sons and an apprentice, she worked for other silversmiths, but her shop eventually won acclaim for its own beautiful domestic silver, especially tea and coffee pots, spoons, and other tableware. She also produced some church and presentation pieces, known for their refined—almost austere—lines and decoration. When Bateman retired in 1790, the business continued for years in the hands of her widowed daughter-in-law, Anne, and one of her five children, Peter.