SMITH, NICHOLSON & CO, The Thomas Ware Smart testimonial Enlarge 1 /1


commenced 1851 – 1864


The Thomas Ware Smart testimonial 1859 Description: Table garniture consisting of an epergne and two compotes
Place made: London, Greater London, England
Materials & Technique: metalwork, tableware, sterling silver, glass silver: cast, chased and engraved

Primary Insc: stamped maker's marks
Secondary Insc: inscribed on base: Presented/by the shareholders of the/Australian Joint Stock bank/to/Thomas Ware Smart Esq M.L.C./as a testimonial in acknowledgement/of/the valuable services rendered by him to the/bank as Inspecting Director/during/the last Eight months/Sydney 18th January 1855/
Dimensions: comp (irreg) 79.0 h x 46.5 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1980
Accession No: NGA 80.1588.1-3

The extravagance and eclecticism of mid-19th century English and Australian presentation silver is visible in this object. The Smith & Nicholson table garniture is a tableau of allegorical images of colonial success, depicting a shearer, the classical figure of Ceres holding a cornucopia, an Aboriginal figure and a variety of native flora and fauna. Such naturalistic objects were commissioned to commemorate the successes of prominent colonial figures and were a specialty of British silversmiths. Thomas Ware Smart (1810–81) purchased this example in London with a £500 gift from the Australian Joint Stock Bank.

Robert Bell

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002