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THE PHOENIX ASSURANCE MACE
A RARE AND IMPORTANT GEORGE III PARCEL-GILT SILVER MACE FINIAL
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THE PHOENIX ASSURANCE MACE A RARE AND IMPORTANT GEORGE III PARCEL-GILT SILVER MACE FINIAL

MARK OF THOMAS DANIELL, LONDON, 1795

Details
THE PHOENIX ASSURANCE MACE
A RARE AND IMPORTANT GEORGE III PARCEL-GILT SILVER MACE FINIAL
MARK OF THOMAS DANIELL, LONDON, 1795
Formed as Minerva holding a shield with the badge of the Phoenix fire office above the legend 'PROTECTION' in one hand and a spear in the other, supported on a plinth with floral swags and gilded flames, with a later wood plinth, marked on the shield, the plinth further engraved 'Tho Daniell No. 20 Foster Lane London Maker (?)'
22¾ in. (57.7 cm.) high
111 oz. (3,450 gr.) gross
Literature
Illustrated in Brian Henham and Brian Sharp, Badges of Extinction The 18th and 19th century Badges of Insurance Office Fireman, Quiller Press, London, 1989, page 45
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Lot Essay

While the mace has been in use for centuries, their use by insurance companies began early in the 18th century when, in 1704, the Hand in Hand provided "a handsome staff, with a silver head with the hand in hand and Crown, being the mark of this society, to screw upon the same" (ibid page 45). These maces would have been used on days of marching when the Cities of London and Westminster would see men from the companies marching a five mile route handing out proposals as they went. This twice yearly march must have been quite a sight in 18th century London and indeed a watercolour, reproduced ibid, page 44 from Things Phoenix 1782-1982, shows this mace being carried by the foreman, followed by fireman in their brightly coloured costume.

Thomas Daniell gained his freedom from the company of Goldsmiths' by patrimony in 1771 and started working in partnership with his father and later alone. He began working at 20 Foster Lane, across from the Goldsmiths' Company, in partnership with John Wall in 1781 and continued working there from the time that partnership was dissolved in 1782. It was unusual for silversmiths of that period to sign their pieces in the way that Daniell has done here but interesting to note that he has done the same on other pieces such as a cup of 1786 from the collection of Lincoln College, Oxford.

Besides typical hollowares of the period Daniell is know to have produced the badges for the New Fire Office, which became, in 1785, the Phoenix Fire Office. The shield which Mineva holds in the present mace is the same as that used by Daniell on the New Fire Office badges.
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