Silver Drawing Instruments in Shagreen Case by Francis Watkins c. 1750

Silver Drawing Instruments in Shagreen Case by Francis Watkins c. 1750


Country of manufacture

UK and Ireland

Category: Drawing Instruments


Exquisite silver-mounted shagreen etui with silver instruments dating to 1746-64. Includes silver-mounted ivory sector, protractor signed F. Watkins London, bow compass, and small and large dividers with fitting attachments for inking and dotting. A fine silver pen, silver-mounted pencil, and steel file knife is also included. The silver instruments show a very high level of craftsmanship and fine detail encountered in earlier sets. The shagreen case is oval in shape and finely decorated with bands of silver moulding and a silver cartouche on the lid. The interior is lined with silver and green velvet.

Francis Watkins (c. 1723-1791) was an eminent figure in the field of mathematical and optical instrument making in mid-eighteenth century London. He apprenticed to Nathaniel Adams in the Spectaclemakers’ Company in 1737 and worked with Edward Scarlett senior and Henry Walder at the Archimedes, Globe and Sun in Soho. After completing his apprenticeship in 1746, he established his business at Sir Isaac Newton’s Head, 4/5 Charing Cross. He took Addison Smith as an apprentice in 1750 and as a partner from 1764 to 1777, signing instruments during this period “Watkins & Smith”. He was succeeded by Jeremiah and William Watkins in 1782. The signature F. Watkins was used between 1746 and 1764, before Watkins’ partnership with Smith, so this set dates to sometime in the mid 18th century.

7.1 inches /18cm case height

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US Instrumentum

Instrumentum is based in the United States and specializes in high quality 17th and 18th century scientific instruments for architecture, mathematics and navigation. We have collected antique instruments for over 20 years with a focus on early and rare European architectural drafting sets, dividers, and rules. If you are interested in something particular please contact us at Image galleries of our inventory can be viewed on Pinterest and Facebook at the following links:

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