Offered is a lovely and extremely rare example of the Old English pattern in the first few years of its development. The first moves away from the Hanoverian pattern were with the larger serving pieces, such as this soup ladle, and with some forks. The primary reason for this shift was the discomfort of using pieces like soup ladles with the turned-up handles of the Hanoverian pattern; the turned-down end of the Old English pattern was simply more comfortable in the hand.
This piece bears very clear hallmarks for London, 1755, and the maker's mark of William Turner, a silversmith of some repute working in partnership from 1753 through mid-1754 and then alone until 1772, the year of his death. Turner is known to have been on the cutting edge of developments in flatware patterns; some of the earliest Onslow pattern pieces, dating to the 1750s, bear his mark. This soup ladle measures about 13 3/4 inches in length and weighs a very hefty 216 grams.
It is crested with a period engraved armorial of a demi-leopard rampant holding an implement or other device, perhaps a palm branch for the Harvey family. The heel on this ladle is especially nicely done, and the whole piece has a fine quality to it. Condition is excellent overall for a piece of this age, with some surface wear and scratching but with no dents, splits or repairs. All in all a gorgeous and important early, transitional piece!