The maker of this extremely interesting basket, Arthur Annesley entered his mark in London in 1758. Among his London made work is a very fine set of two tea-caddies and a sugar-box of 1758 after rococo designs for silver by the cabinet-maker John Linnell (now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, acc. no. M.26-e-1982). In addition, he is recorded in 1761 as making a cake-basket with many similarities to, although lighter and less elaborately applied than, the present example (Christie's, New York, 18 October 1989 lot 182).
According to The Gentleman's Magazine of April 1762, Annesley was declared bankrupt at Newcastle Court. He appears to have moved to Rotterdam, probably in that year, where his mark is recorded as AA with a star as on the present piece and which has previously been found on a number of Dutch pieces dating from 1767-1778. The present lot, in markedly English style, appears to be the earliest recorded example of his work in Holland by some three years. It has been previously suggested that the reason there was a delay of five years after he left England prior to him hallmarking silver was that the regulations specified a two-year apprenticeship before being appointed as a 'Poorter' or 'Burger' followed by final acceptance as a full member of the Rotterdam guild (A. G. Grimwade, London Goldsmiths, 1697-1837, London, 1976, p. 735). However, given the date of the present basket, within two years of the maker emigrating and his obvious competence, it seems more likely that the regulations were waived or the necessary time-served reduced in his case. He may also possibly be identified, particularly given his apparent peripatetic nature, with a goldsmith of the same name who was made free of the Dublin Goldsmith's Company in 1752 and died in 1795 (A. G. Grimwade, op. cit.).