This is a delightful pair of cast tongs that appear to be marked with Richard Jenkins' maker's mark. Early Exeter cast tongs are quite rare so they are a lovely find. We know that Richard Jenkins was working from 1760 and also that he sent "Tea tongs" for assay throughout his working life so it is quite reasonable that these are by him. The only slight doubt is that the maker's mark is a little distorted as it is over-struck onto another mark. Having said that, the mark is still clear enough to be reasonably certain of the attribution. The over-striking is interesting in it's own right as there were not very many Exeter makers making sugar tongs this early and why would Richard Jenkins have over-struck someone else's work? He was quite capable of making them himself.

All in all a fascinating pair of tongs, with just that little bit of added interest. I have dated them at c1775.

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