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Stephan Welz

(b Strelitz, Prussia [now Germany], 1741; d Cape Town, Dec 29, 1811).

South African silversmith of German birth. In 1768 he arrived at Cape Town, where he worked as sword-cutler in the service of the Dutch East India Company until 1778. The following year he started his own business. He was the most accomplished of the Cape silversmiths and the first to introduce the Rococo style, although it was always used in a restrained Dutch manner. Towards the end of his career he also produced pieces in a Neo-classical style, probably inspired by silverware brought by English immigrants. His most exuberant designs are silver furniture mounts with a cast floral motif. He was one of the first Cape silversmiths to make such large domestic pieces as tea- and coffee-pots and covered sugar bowls, usually with cast floral finials and supports. The only recorded pair of Cape candlesticks (Cape Town, S. Afr. Cult. Hist. Mus.) is by Schmidt.

S. Welz: Cape Silver and Silversmiths...

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Stephan Welz

(b Liverpool, May 5, 1793; d London, June 8, 1852).

English silversmith, active in South Africa. After qualifying as a clock- and watchmaker, in 1818 he left for the Cape, where he became the most prolific and best-known 19th-century silversmith. Within three weeks of his arrival in Cape Town he opened a shop, and a year later he was advertising for craftsmen and apprentices in the silver and jewellery trade. Within four years Twentyman had established himself as the leading silversmith at the Cape, receiving commissions from the governor, churches and leading citizens. He made a number of presentation vases, all in the prevailing English style, and many small pieces such as snuff-boxes, christening cups, beakers and flatware of varying quality. An astute businessman, he imported large quantities of plated ware, which ultimately led to the death of the silversmith’s craft at the Cape. Twentyman returned to England in 1832, leaving what was by then an importing and retailing business in the hands of a manager....