Charles I Antique Silver Wine Taster


Stock: 10277

Date: 1641

Country: England

An early English silver taster of a rare boat shaped form with simple shaped side handles. The decoration is typical...

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An early English silver taster of a rare boat shaped form with simple shaped side handles. The decoration is typical for the period, the body having a fluted design with punched dots and a flower head to the centre. Dishes from this period are usually circular in shape and are often referred to as sweetmeat dishes.

Weight 88 grams, 2.8 troy ounces.
Length 15.2cm.
Width 9.6/12.5cm. Height 2.2/3.9cm.
London 1641.
No maker’s mark.
Sterling silver.
17th century.

Marks. Stamped on the rim with a clear set of English silver hallmarks. No maker’s mark.

Literature. The Romans introduced wine to Great Britain, and possibly even winemaking, as early as 43 BC when emperor Claudius began his conquest of the British Isles. Romans loved their wine, and wine drinking was a commonplace activity in Roman villas, houses, and garrisons at the time. Although the Romans tried to grow grapes in England, strong trading links with France and Italy allowed wine to be imported relatively easily. Traditionally very few English wine tasters were made because wine was not a national product however, according to Michael Clayton’s “Silver & Gold of Great Britain & North America” although there are no undoubted wine tasters remaining in England dated earlier than 17th century they certainly existed much earlier. The standard form is a shallow bowl with a raised centre, generally proud of the rim, against which the colour of the wine may be viewed. Tasters are normally circular about 10.2cm in diameter, however Clayton mentions a rare boat shaped example, hallmarked 1632, with a handle at one end, in a private collection. The placing of the hallmarks on an English wine taster indicates the way in which it is to be held and avoids any confusion with the trencher salt which has a dipped centre. Saucer shaped dishes and small, shallow, two-handed, dishes also existed at this time which could have been tasters but could equally have been sweetmeat dishes or receptacles for mixing sauces at table.


The little dish is in very good condition with moderate signs of wear commensurate with age.

Maker Information

No maker assigned

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