The present example belongs to a small group of tureens with the mark of John Edwards, each a fine example of the English rococo. A tureen dated 1747 joins the present lot in its use of terrestrial animal forms, including stag heads, game, and claw feet. When sold by Christie's, 28 April 1910, the tureen was described as the work of John Eckfourd.
The other Edwards tureens rely more on marine themes, including one, 1737, applied with a crab finial and dolphin-form handles, sold at Christie's, London, 31 March 1976, lot 159. Another tureen, 1746, in Winterthur's Campbell Soup Tureen Collection, features a lobster finial, dolphin-form feet, and boar's-head handles. The final known pair of soup tureens have lobster and artichoke finials, with shell joins and are illustrated in Christopher Hartop, The Huguenot Legacy: English Silver 1680-1760 from the Alan and Simone Hartman Collection, pp. 120-121, no. 13.
This tureen also clearly relates to a group of silver produced by Paul de Lamerie, during the period 1736-1742, which exhibits the stylistic elements of the Maynard Master, an unnamed artist in Lamerie's workshop whose hand is identifiable only by the distinctive style and iconography of his works. Low-relief putti, with distressed or plaintive expressions, spiraled buds known as "cinnamon bun" scrolls and wilted lion's heads resting on their paws, are among the icons that ornament the abstracted frames and cartouches that punctuate his works. His authorship is further defined by continuity between figural elements and stylized ornament, such as scrolls, clouds, shells and coral.
The chasing in the present example--languid putti emerging from cartouches and lion's heads leaning out above their paws, with expressions majestically relaxed--distinctly suggests the influence of the Maynard Master's style on the Edwards workshop. Indeed, the timing and style of the tureen would suggest that Edwards, like other sophisticated silversmiths, had observed and internalized the success of the Maynard Master's designs and incorporated that iconography into his own works.
See Ellenor Alcorn, Beyond the Maker's Mark: Paul de Lamerie Silver in the Cahn Collection, 2006, pp. 29-35, 79-82, 84-88, and 105-106.