A fine gilded copper bonnafonte style ear trumpet made around 1833 by Leonard Baugh the London goldsmith and jeweller.
The build quality of this trumpet is superb and it is pleasingly heavy in the hand. There is no loss of the thick gold plate, the seams are invisible and the earpiece is made from ivory. The escutcheon on the trumpet reads: “Wright’s Improved Baugh (Fecit) successor to S Shepherd 199. Strand”. Fecit (literally “made by”) was an attribution applied to works of art.
Before electroplating was in common use, gold plating was neither cheap nor mass produced. It was an expensive time consuming process requiring the application of a gold mercury amalgam, after which the mercury would be burned off in an oven. The workers who undertook this task regularly died young and were prone to the neurological manifestations of mercury poisoning – as were hatters of the day.