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William Edwards

British, 1819 - 1889

William Edwards, the son of a London silversmith, migrated to Melbourne in 1857 and became a leading supplier of silverware, both imported and made in his workshop. He worked from premises at Collins Street East, until about 1876 and ran a business in Melbourne which supplied silverware to major retailers until about 1872. From about 1873 to 1892, Edwards worked in partnership with Alexander Kaul (b. 1833) who arrived from England in 1852. William Edwards' workshop excelled in the production of silver-mounted emu egg trophies and is credited with making the earliest surviving piece, a covered cup presented in 1859 to a Melbourne University scholar by his students. Edwards introduced a range of emu egg 'novelties' to Australian silver. His workshop also produced a number of silver and occasionally gold trophies and epergnes some of which were displayed in international exhibitions. Edwards was also responsible for major commissions such as the gifts for Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh which subsequently brought him an appointment as goldsmith and jeweller the the Duke's household.