Established in Birmingham in 1855 by Jonathan Wilson Hukin and John Thomas Heath, the firm of Hukin & Heath were manufacturing silversmiths and electroplaters. They registered their first hallmark at the Birmingham Assay Office in 1879, followed by their first London mark in 1879. Hukin retired in 1881, but his partner - John Heath - continued the business with a third party, John Middleton. The firm is probably best known for its association with the hugely influential designer Christopher Dresser, and produced his designs between 1879 and the turn of the 20th century. In addition to Dresser’s designs, Hukin & Heath stocked Oriental-inspired goods plated in gold and silver, genuine Oriental art and pottery by firms such as Doulton Lambeth, mounted in metal. They also produced pieces in EPNS (electro-plated nickel silver), precious metals, brass and glass. The firm closed in 1953.
Hukin & Heath manufactured the designs of Christopher Dresser for a number of years, of which the high point was the 1870s and 1880s. Although Dresser’s angular, geometric designs were considered too modern for their time, they’re now very popular with collectors and a Dresser-designed and Hukin & Heath-manufactured piece from this period is highly sought after. The firm also produced a range of other products, and good examples of silverware and limited-edition novelty items find a ready market. Hukin & Heath products remain very collectable, and are of interest to fans of silverware, collectors of Christopher Dresser’s designs and historians interested in the industrial manufacturing processes of the late 19th century. Items with a practical modern use such as letter racks and cruet sets are of particular interest, as are decanters and other decorative household goods. At Wilson 55, our in-house experts have years of experience in assessing and valuing Hukin & Heath products, so do get in touch if you’d like to learn more about a piece you own, or discuss a potential sale or valuation.