Antique George I Silver Cruet
Maker: Louys Cuny
A rare early English silver cruet with two hexagonal bottles for oil and vinegar and a small single hexagonal castor...
A rare early English silver cruet with two hexagonal bottles for oil and vinegar and a small single hexagonal castor or pepperette. Excellent weight. Good Huguenot maker. The frame has a shaped side carrying handle, and side supports for the bottle tops and pepperette. Total weight of silver 840 grams, 27 troy ounces. Height 18 cms. Stand London 1716 (Britannia standard silver*), maker Louys Cuny. Pepperette, made later to match, dated London 1727 (sterling silver), makers mark rubbed. His most unusual piece of work is probably the curious triangle salt of the Upholders (upholsterers) Company.
Literature: *Britannia Standard silver. In 1696, so extensive had become the melting and clipping of coinage that the silversmiths were forbidden to use the sterling standard for their wares, but had to use a new higher standard, 95.8 per cent. New hallmarks were ordered, “the figure of a woman commonly called Britannia” and the lion’s head erased (torn off at the neck) replacing the lion passant and the leopard’s head crowned. This continued until the old standard of 92.5 per cent was restored in 1720. Britannia standard silver still continues to be produced even today.
The earliest cruet frames normally contained 3 castors and 2 glass bottles and are not found before 1700. This form is named the “Warwick” cruet after the cruet created by Anthony Nelme in 1715 for the Duke of Warwick. At this date occasionally one finds the two bottle oil and vinegar frame although this form is more usually found on the continent. Later in the 18th century the number of bottles could be as many as 8 or 10 and these would have contained a variety of sauces of the period such as soy, ketchup, tarragon etc and they may have had little sauce labels to identify the contents.
This superb antique silver condiment set is in very good condition with no damage or restoration. The frame has a full set of English silver hallmarks for London 1716. The bottle tops are unmarked, which is normal for this time, the bottle tops fit snugly in the circular holders on the side of the frame. The glass has that lovely Georgian colour which you don't find today. The hexagonal silver pepperette has been specially made to fit into the original stand (presumably as a replacement for the original small caster which would have been made of glass with a silver top;) and is 11 years later in date, maker unknown. All fully functional. Please note that this item is not new and will show moderate signs of wear commensurate with age. Reflections in the photograph may detract from the true representation of this item.
Maker: Louys Cuny
Louys Cuny, Hugeunot immigrant, endenizened (naturalised) 8th May 1697, same day as Peter and Claudius Platel and John Chartier. Free 1703. First mark entered 1703. Second mark (sterling), unrecorded, circa 1720. Elected to the livery 1708. His son Samuel was apprenticed to him in 1710 and turned over to Daniel Shaw, free 1724 but did not enter a mark. Louys Cuny died 1733. There are many different spellings of his name – Louis, Lewis, Cugny, de Cuney…
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