The Richardsons: A Silver Family

Antique collecting has become an increasingly popular hobby over the last several decades. Early American silver, in particular, has seen a rise in popularity at auctions. Items such as teapots, cutlery, and sauce boats, for example are highly sought after. Here at Lamb Silver, you can find several silver collectibles from the Colonial era. In fact we are proud to feature some of the work of an entire family of silversmiths. The Richardsons have been regarded as some of the finest craftsmen of their era.

A Silver Patriarch

Joseph Richardson Sr. is widely known as one of the greatest silversmiths of his time. Both his father and older brother also worked in the trade, but it was Joseph himself that brought the family craft to its pinnacle. A merchant as well, Richardson imported silver from London and sold it in his Philadelphia shop. This enabled Joseph to keep abreast of the latest fashion trends in Europe.

A Friend In Word and Action

Raised a Quaker, Joseph Richardson Sr. fused his beliefs with his work, refusing to make swords, chalices, and silver vessels that were used in communion services. Instead Richardson crafted practical items like belt buckles, bowls and exquisitely detailed tea pots. Richardson was a proud member of “The Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the Indians”,and crafted thousands of unique pieces for Native Americans. One of his most revolutionary pieces was a breastplate which depicted William Penn offering a peace pipe to a native.

All In The Family

Richardson took on many apprentices, teaching them his trade from his home in Philadelphia. Two of his most noteworthy were his two sons Joseph Jr. and Nathaniel. After Joseph Sr.’s death in 1784, his boys took on the family business and created many of the neoclassical pieces that are associated with the Richardson family today.

Several years after Joseph Sr.’s death Nathaniel left the family business leaving Joseph Jr. in command of the business as well as his father’s peaceful work with Native Americans.
Junior continued this tradition and was responsible for some of the 1793 and all of the 1795 Washington Indian Peace Medals. Because of this contribution, he became appointed Assayer at the United States Mint, which indicates a close relationship with George Washington.

A Delicate Legacy

Several pieces crafted by the Richardson family are available exclusively here at Lamb Silver. This beautiful silver teapot circa 1760, and delicate American silver sauce boat circa 1760-70 were made by Joseph Sr.himself, and exemplify his attention to fine details. This american silver creamer circa 1785 is a Joseph jr. and Nathaniel collaboration. A delicate and refined piece, it shows that the apple didn’t fall far from this family tree.