Antique Charles I Silver Chalice
Maker: Richard Blackwell
A rare early English silver chalice dating to the reign of Charles I. Nearly 400 years old and in very...
A rare early English silver chalice dating to the reign of Charles I. Nearly 400 years old and in very good condition. Gilt silver. Plain form with a tapering bowl and hexafoil foot. The stem and foot have hand engraved decoration, the foot with a crucifixion scene. Excellent colour and workmanship.
Contains 150 ml.
Weight 303 grams, 9.7 troy ounces.
Height 17cm. Diameter – top 7.5cm, foot 11.5cm.
Good silver marks for London 1635.
Maker’s mark probably “RB over an escallop” – see Jacksons (Pickford edition) page 117. Probably Richard Blackwell the elder – see David Mitchell’s Silversmiths in Elizabethan and Stuart London*
Marks. Fully silver hallmarked to the body (the maker’s mark is badly stamped) and lion mark to the underside of the base.
Signed/Inscribed: *It is unusual to have a maker’s name for a piece of silver of this early date as there are no precise records of silver makers’ marks prior to 1697. All records were destroyed in the fire at Goldsmiths Hall in 1681 when the Assay Office and apartments of the Assayer and Clerk in the south west wing of the building were burned down. From 1697 onwards Goldsmiths Hall has preserved a complete record of workmen’s marks, addresses, together with their names and the dates. Sometimes the details of makers can be discovered from old records such as the inventories of noble houses and other institutions.
The first surviving record, after the fire at Goldsmiths Hall, is the 1682 copper plate made to start the recording process again. This has recently prompted a study by Dr David Mitchell, supported by Goldsmiths Hall, resulting in the publication of his 2017 “Silversmiths in Elizabethan and Stuart London”. This reference work identifies previously unknown makers marks and assigns marks struck on existing plate to individuals (attributions for 540 separate marks).
This lovely antique wine cup is in good condition. Excellent patina, the engraving still has good definition, some wear to the gilding compatible with its age (the magnificent original colour can be seen on the underside). The chalice has been tested for water retention and does not leak. There is a fault inside the base of the bowl, possibly a repair, which probably happened at the time of manufacture as it is below the gilding which appears to be original (see photos).
Maker: Richard Blackwell
Richard Blackwell the elder, apprenticed to William Challicombe, free of the Merchant Taylor 1605, sworn to the Ordinances of the Goldsmith's Company 1606, Blackwell not only was a successful silversmith binding eight apprentices between 1607 and 1647, but also had a significant retail business. His son, Richard Blackwell the younger, continued the trade and he himself bound a further 5 apprentices. Died 1663.
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