Charles II Antique Silver Wine Taster


Stock: 10182

Date: 1673

Maker: George Watkins

Country: England

A rare early English miniature wine taster from the reign of Charles II. Very charming size. This little cup has...

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A rare early English miniature wine taster from the reign of Charles II. Very charming size. This little cup has a circular form with simple wirework handles and embossed grape decoration.

Weight 21 grams, less than 1 troy ounce.
Height 2 cm approx. Diameter of top 6.1cm. Spread across handles 8.9cm.
London 1673.
Made by George Watkins.
Sterling silver.

Marks. Stamped inside the bowl with a full set of English silver hallmarks. The date letter is only partially stamped but almost certainly for 1673. The maker’s mark “GW over a crescent and pellets” was attributed to George Watkins by William Kent and is listed in Jackson’s “Gold & Silver Marks” and David Mitchell’s “Silversmiths in Elizabethan and Stuart London”.

Literature – 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 color, 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, often with simple wire handles (these often have original rough soldering which can appear “blobby”).


This lovely little cup is in very good condition. Excellent patina. Shows moderate signs of wear commensurate with age.

Maker Information

Maker: George Watkins

George Watkins, of Shropshire, apprenticed to John Jones for 9 years in 1645, free 1655. George only served 6 and half years with John Jones and the rest of his term in the Regiment of Colonel Barkestead, Lieutenant of the Tower (Goldsmith). George had 3 brothers William, Robert and Richard who were apprenticed to John and Richard Clay of the Goldsmiths Company in 1632,34 and 48. George bound 6 apprentices and had one turned over to him during his long and chequered career. He died in circa 1690.

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