Women have been noted as silversmiths for hundreds of years. Widows would often continue on the business of their husbands (often placing their maker's mark in a lozenge) and daughters would enter business partnerships with relatives also in the trade. Dorothy Langlands was a widow who continued business for 10 years after her husbands death.
For sixty years the Langlands family were the largest manufacturers of silverware in Newcastle, England. Dorothy Langlands was the wife of John Langlands II and she took over her husband's business in 1804 when he died. She retired in 1814 and died in 1845. This means we can date all silver marked with her maker's mark (D.L) to 1804-1814. This is helpful because a lot of smaller silver items would not have been stamped with the date letter.
Below are two examples of her work. A nice pair of bright-cut sugar tongs and a set of four Old English pattern teaspoons.
|Sugar Tongs, Dorothy Langlands, 1804-1814|
|Four Teaspoons, Dorothy Langlands, 1804-1814|
Keep an eye out for other work by women silversmiths, it's out there to be found!