Hester Bateman is the most revered female silversmith in history, known for her refined style with reserved decoration. Hester was born in 1709 to Elizabeth and John Needham. In 1732 she married John Bateman at the Church of St. Botolph’s, Aldergate, in the City of London. John was a goldsmith whose forte was the making of gold watch chains. In 1760 John passed away, leaving his business to his widow, Hester, who partnered with her two sons Jonathan and Peter. The family did mostly commissioned pieces until Hester began to focus on her own works in 1774.
When Hester Bateman retired in 1790, she left her thriving silversmith business to her sons Jonathan and Peter. Shortly thereafter, in 1791, Jonathan died leaving his share of the business to his widow, Ann. Peter and Ann joined forces entering their own mark. Hester Bateman passed away in 1794 in the Parish of St. Andrews where she had lived with her daughter Letitia. Jonathan and Ann’s son, William born in 1774, joined Ann and Peter’s partnership in 1800, and created a joint mark. In 1805, Peter and William took over the business as Ann retired and the new partnership entered a mark of their own. In 1815, William followed in his grandmother’s footsteps and forged ahead alone registering his own mark. This long line of the most highly talented silversmiths was all thanks to the matriarch, Hester Bateman.