These tongs are very unusual. They are
clearly marked with London Hallmarks for 1794/95 and yet are also clearly
marked with Langlands & Robertson's maker's mark. The tongs are
obviously Bateman tongs, this style of tongs were very common for the
Batemans. The tongs are marked right underneath the bow, exactly where
the Batemans marked this style of tongs. In fact underneath the "IL IR"
mark can be seen the vestiges of Peter & Ann Bateman's mark.
What is also very interesting is that John
Langlands had died by 1793 so why was the "IL IR" mark being used a year or
more after Langland's death? Given that silver will always have been
marked with the maker's mark BEFORE being hallmarked, these tongs
will clearly have been sent to the Assay office after the maker's mark was
My supposition is that they were made, and
hallmarked through the Bateman workshops, in 1794 and only sometime
after this sold to the Langlands/Robertson shop are then over-struck.
Even supposing this, it is still unusual that they should still have been
using an "old" maker's punch.
Click on any picture to enlarge