The Collection​​​​

The Pewterers' Company has a fine representative collection of British pewter including many pieces of historical importance and items of quality contemporary pewterware.


See our gallery of desginers and modern pewterterers as well as links to buy pewter
Though pewter is not as in vogue as in its heyday in the 16th century, it is a fine metal with a malleability that lends itself to a multitude of designs.

The Upper and Middle classes of the late 14th to early 17th century favoured pewter, or silver if they could afford it: pottery was relatively rudimentary and used by the lower classes. It was not until the advent of fine porcelain from the east (eventually successfully emulated by Meissen in 1710) that pewter fell out of fashion. The wealthy switched to Sèvres, Minton and other notable porcelain manufacturers. Glass also became more common and cheap to produce with the result that by the 
​​end of the 19th Century, pewter was more associated with ale houses: thus perpetuating the prevalent stereotype of pewter being only in the form of tankards.
The Company’s collection of pewter ranges from Roman times to the present day. Including several exceptionally fine pieces from the Tudor period when pewter was at its zenith.

On this page we have selected items with each have historical significance and display extraordinary craftsmanship.   

The Punta Cana Pewter

​At the end of November 2013, the Company acquired, at auction, twenty four stunning pieces of mid-16th century pewter.

The Loving Cups

​One of the universal traditions of Livery Companies is the Ceremony of the Loving Cup.

Art Nouveau Pewter

​Pewter has a renaissance during the Art and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements of the 1900’s.
Art Nouveau Pewter
​Pewter had a renaissance during the Art and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements of the 1900s when work by designers such as Archibald Knox became fashionable.Knox’s pieces for Libertys were naturalistic with cast flowers and soft lines. Elements of colour were added with enamel and glass. However, pewter has an extremely low melting point so copper was used as the base for the enamel which was then inlayed into the pewter.

The Worshipful Company of Pewterers is fortunate to have several Archibald Knox pieces in its collection including a vase identical to those commissioned by the White Star Line to furnish the state rooms on the Titanic. This fashion for pewter was unfortunately cut short by World War I as the Knox designs were extremely time consuming to make and the labour was not available. After the war the Art Deco movement took hold favouring geometric shapes and factory manufacture unsuitable for pewter
  1. Managing Director
    Art Nouveau dish with enamel centre from Liberty’s Tudric range
  2. Managing Director
    Rose bowl from Liberty’s Tudric range (011), designed by David Veazey. Decorated with stylised rose bushes and by lines from Tennyson: “And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad, And the musk of the rose is blown”.
The Gilbert Marks Charger
Gilbert Marks worked principally in silver and is recorded as having made around 800 silver items in a relatively short period of time, between 1895 and his death in 1905. He was a leader in Arts and Crafts design movement and all his work is unique bearing floral and other naturalistic decorations. The Pewterers’ charger is one of a few pewter examples that have appeared on the open market in the last few decades.

The charger is 44 cm. in diameter and is signed ‘Gilbert Marks 1901’ on the rim, the border is richly
embossed with sprigs of acorns, stems and oak leaves, on a hammered ground, the surface being a pleasing lustrous grey in colour.

To Read the full article by Richard Parsons on Gilbert Marks see the Pewterers' Review 2015-2016.
Download Pewterers' Review 2015 - 2016 (pdf)
The Punta Cana Pewter
​The pewter plates displayed in the festive tableau, with earrly Victorian delicacies  are dated to around 1550 and were recently salvaged from a wreck off Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

A 16th Century bossed pewter plate with 8-pointed decorated margins (part of a set of six).​​​​

​At the end of November 2013, the Company acquired, at auction, twenty four stunning pieces of mid-16th century pewter which have been restored to their original condition. Excluding spoons, 16th century pewter is extremely rare, and the Company had less than a dozen such pieces, many of which were late 16th century. So this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and an important addition to the Company’s leading collection of English pewter.

The story behind these plates is fascinating. Around 1550 a Spanish merchant ship set sail, for the Spanish Main in the Caribbean. The ship was laden with gold and silver coins, and with fine pewter from Europe, the majority of which came from London, with the rest coming from the Netherlands.
​The ship never reached her destination, but was wrecked just off the eastern most point of the Spanish colony, Hispaniola, (now the Dominican Republic)
at a place called Punta Cana. And there she lay, undiscovered for over 450 years.

​She was finally discovered in 2009 by a Florida based professional American Salvage Company and over two diving seasons a large amount of her treasures were retrieved. The stacks of pewter plates were deeply encrusted with calcium carbonates and all manner of marine life, but some of them, after careful restoration, turned out to be in surprisingly good condition. 
​The restoration process also meant that they have emerged with a bright silver finish, as if new. Indeed, it is apparent that none of these plates have ever been used, and that the original casting hammer and lathe marks can clearly be seen.

About a third of the 200 or so pieces were auctioned, and all the pieces acquired by the Company, bore the mark of Sir Thomas Curtis. He was elected Master of the Company on two occasions in 1538 and 1545. He was undoubtedly the most important London Pewterer of his time, and was one of only three Pewterers in the entire history of the Company to be elected Lord Mayor.
To Read the full article by Rod Kent see the Pewterers' Review 2013-2014.
Download Pewterers' Review 2013 - 2014 (pdf)
The Loving Cups
One of the universal traditions of Livery Companies is the Ceremony of the Loving Cup.  This ceremony is said to date back to Saxon times (prior to the Norman Conquest of 1066), and to derive from the assassination of King Edward the martyr whilst drinking, by command of Elfrida, his wife.

The intricacies are illustrated in this guide (see right hand text).  The idea behind the ceremony is that the body of the drinker will be vulnerable whilst they hold the large cup to their mouth. An enemy with the intention of murdering the drinker could take advantage of the drinker's vulnerability. The drinker's trust in his neighbours to guard him cements the idea of fellowship.

The Company has a fine selection of Loving Cups, each gifted to the Company by members.
​A guide to the Loving Cup Ceremony:

When offered the Loving cup (which is filled with a secret formula only known to the Beadle), you initially bow to the person offering it to you and with a flourish to take off the lid so the person can drink.  After he has drunk from the cup he will wipe it and then you replace the lid. You bow to each other and then take the loving cup, turn around and do likewise to the next person but this time you do the drinking and the wiping and he will take the lid off with a flourish, bowing as he does so. Whilst you are drinking (a sip will do and it is big cup so do not spill it down you) the person who offered you the loving cup will stand with his back to you to guard your back whilst you drink. You do the same and guard the back of the person you passed the cup to when it is his turn to drink. On finishing the person will let you know, by thanking you for guarding him and then you can sit down.  
John Leeson Cup

Makers mark of T.R.B. in monogram, London 1686, a James II silver gilt cup and cover, the cover with figure of Roman Centurion holding shield with the Arms of the Pewterers Company, with an acanthus chased bucket bowl, engraved ‘The Gift of John Leeson to the Company of Pewterers 1686’, the triple knop stem flat chased with acanthus on domed circular foot, engraved on base ‘regilt 1824’.
Samuel Jackson Cup

Makers mark Benjamin Pyne, London 1705, a Queen Anne silver gilt cup and cover, the bell shaped bowl with applied reeding and engraved ‘ The gift of Mr Samuel Jackson Aug 9th 1705’, the cover cast in the form of the Arms of the Pewterers’ Company, on a baluster stem and gadrooned domed circular foot, engraved underneath ‘regilt 1824’.
​​Thomas Jackson Cup

Makers mark only I.M. conjoined, punched twice, a Charles II silver gilt cup and cover, bucket shaped bowl, chased with band of acanthus and laurel moulding, engraved ‘The gift of Mr Thomas Jackson 1680’, double knop, baluster stem, flat chased with acanthus, on domed circular foot, foliate chased cover with finial cast and engraved with Company Arms, reverse engraved ‘regilt 1824’.
​William Howard Cup

Makers mark Thomas Corbett, London 1702, a Queen Anne silver gilt cup and cover, the part fluted bucket shape bowl with laurel moulding and engraved, ‘The gift of William Howard to ye Company of Pewterers 1702 then Master’, flat chased double knop, baluster stem, gadrooned circular foot, the cover with  gadrooning and finial cast as the Arms of the Company, engraved underneath ‘regilt 1824’, both pieces fully marked.
For more articles on the Collection see the Pewterers' Annual Review
For Repairs please contact: ​​
For Pewter marks please contact: ​ ​​
The Pewter Society
A E Williams


​​The Pewter Society has detailed information on pewterers' marks, verification marks. ownership marks and merchants' marks.
Please note the Worshipful Company of Pewterers does NOT accept enquiries regarding pewter marks or repairs.

 6 Well Lane, Birmingham, B5 5TE
Tel: 0121 643 4756
Email: [email protected]
 A E Williams also undertake repairs

Please note the Worshipful Company of Pewterers does NOT accept enquiries regarding pewter marks or repairs.  Although the Worshipful Company of Pewterer’s website provides information on pewter, manufacturers, designers and metal manufacturers it does so without any liability. It is does not recommend or sponsor any Company or individual and the information on the website is for general information only.