NOBLE WORKERS

Mention has already been made of some noble patrons of the silversmith's art and also of the fact that several of them did good work with their own hands, working sometimes as amateurs for amusement, and at others as practiced craftsmen engaged in ornamenting religious houses and adding to their stores of plate. St. Eloy, a French Bishop, devoted much time to the production of gold and silver shrines, among his best works being a shrine in which was enclosed the bones of St. Denis. Much has been written about St. Dunstan, that London saint who wrought with " hammer and hand," and did much wonderful work. He was a noted ecclesiastic of noble birth, having royal blood in his veins. Born at Glastonbury, a place full of early recollections associated with King Arthur of almost legendary renown, and a place where sacred myths tell of its reputed graves of England's great saints, he was full of enthusiasm. The legendary stories of St. Dunstan are perhaps of little value and may have given fictitious renown to his doings. We know that history is true in that it records the skill of the saint as a worker in metals ; he became the patron saint of the goldsmiths, and a silver image was made by the guild to commemorate his memory ; but this treasure, then in the possession of the Company, was lost at the Reformation when so many interesting relics of Old London and of its plate and metal work were destroyed. Cardinal Wolsey accumulated much plate, mostly the work of Robery Amades, an artist he employed. Wolsey had many fine pieces, and his example as a collector of plate was followed by others. There was a lavish use of silver then, and it was no uncommon thing for the wealthy to have much plate in use in their households, even silver and-irons and massive mirror frames being made of the precious metal.