In 1691, Anne Tanqueray was born a member of one of the great Huguenot silversmith families. Her father David Willaume moved to London from France in 1685 and established his workshop where he became a highly successful goldsmith, managing a workshop of prolific production and continuing generations of metalworking skill. In 1717, Tanqueray married her father’s apprentice David Tanqueray, also an accomplished silversmith. After registering independently, David established his own workshop where he employed journeymen to assist with work which bore his identifying mark. It was common for wives of silversmiths to produce their own articles within the workshop, and it is likely that Anne continued making items such as salt cellars and sauceboats with her husband’s mark. In 1731, Anne and her husband worked together to create a centerpiece for the Earl of Coventry that demonstrated both artists’ high level of skill.
Their workshop achieved great success, and in 1729 Anne became Subordinate Goldsmith to the King. Because it is believed that David was likely deceased by this time, (historians placing his death around 1724 when his name was marked through in the registry and Anne’s name recorded above) the workshop was likely operating under Anne’s management. Objects produced after this time bear three marks: David’s original stamp and two marks registered by Anne in 1724.
Although it is unclear whether Anne continued to produce the works herself, it is likely that the articles bearing her mark were produced by the highly skilled journeymen she employed. The role of women silversmiths in the late-seventeenth and early-eighteenth centuries was complex, providing women with the opportunity to not only demonstrate their skills in metalworking, but also gain respect and renown for the workshops they managed. Anne’s silver is noted for its high level of excellence and was valued by members of high society. Anne died in 1733 in Tingrith, England having continued a Huguenot legacy of excellence in silver work during her lifetime.
daughter and student of David Willaume
sister of David Willaume II
wife of David Tanqueray