Antique Silver Wine Taster


Stock: 9341

Date: 1697

Maker: William Denny And John Backe

Country: England

A rare early antique silver wine taster of simple plain form in the shape of a flat bowl with a...

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A rare early antique silver wine taster of simple plain form in the shape of a flat bowl with a raised central dome. Very charming with the original hand beaten silver. At a later date the reverse side has been gilded for use as a trencher salt and the crest of an otter hand engraved to the front.

Weight 86 grams, 2.7 troy ounces.

Height 2.1 cm. Diameter 11.7 cm.

Stamped on the side for London 1697.

Maker possibly William Denny and John Backe – see Jacksons page 150.

Literature: Wine Tasters. The saucer shaped taster was already in use as early as the 14th century BC in Minoan Crete and has been essential in the production of wine right through to the present time. It is used by the sommelier to determine a wine’s quality by assessing the colour, clarity, bouquet and taste. The majority of wine tasters in existence are French. The owners often engraved their name on the taster whose single flat handle often accommodated a neck cord.
Very few English wine tasters were made because wine was not a national product however a number were produced during a short period in the second half of the 17th century. These English examples are rare and anything after this date is even rarer. The early English examples were in the shape of a flat bowl with a raised centre against which the colour of the wine could be viewed. They sometimes have simple wire handles (these often have original rough soldering which can appear “blobby”). The placing of the hallmarks on an English wine taster indicates the way in which it is to be held, and the central dome is generally proud of the rim thus proving it is not being intended for use, reversed, as a trencher salt.


This delightful wine taster is good condition. Later used as a trencher salt. Good colour. Stamped around the bottom edge with a full set of English silver hallmarks in very rubbed condition. These are our best interpretations however we cannot guarantee the accuracy (from left to right),: 1. makers mark for William Denny and John Backe – Jacksons page 150 2. the Britannia Standard silver lion's head erased mark 3. the leopard mark 4. date letter "b" for 1697, first year of Britannia standard marks 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 Information

Maker: William Denny And John Backe

William Denny, London silversmith, apprenticed to William Harrison 1670, free 1679. Mark entered as largeworker, with John Bache, undated probably 1697. Another mark, his own, is also undated.

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