Queen Anne Antique Silver Milk Jug


Stock: 10294

Date: 1707

Maker: Benjamin Pyne

Country: England

A rare little antique covered milk jug having a hinged lid and spout with hinged cover. Britannia standard silver*. This...

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A rare little antique covered milk jug having a hinged lid and spout with hinged cover. Britannia standard silver*. This is one of the earliest forms of milk jug and the style is very much like a contemporary coffee pot. Simple plain design and very pretty wooden handle. Hand engraved below the spout with a lion crest and duke’s coronet, and between the handle sockets with an earl’s coronet above a cypher.
Contains 400 ml.

Weight 448 grams, 14.4 troy oz.
Height 17.2cm. Spread 14cm.
London 1707.
Benjamin Pyne

Marks. The little hot milk jug is stamped below the rim with a full set of English silver hallmarks. The date letter is rubbed but clearly identified as 1707.

Arms. The ducal coronet and crest are contemporary for Thomas HOWARD (1683-1732) 8th Duke of Norfolk and 17th Baron Furnivall. He was the son of Lord Thomas HOWARD (1655-1689) and Mary Elizabeth SAVILE (1663-1732). In 1701 he had succeeded his uncle Henry HOWARD (1655-1701) 7th Duke of Norfolk. Later in 1709 he married Maria SHIREBURN (1693-1754) daughter of Sir Nicholas SHIREBURN (died 1717) 1st Baronet.

The Dukedom of Norfolk brought other titles that included the position as Earl Marshall as well as the Earldoms of Arundel, Surrey and Norfolk. The earl’s coronet with monogram may refer to one of these. The Duke died childless on 23 December 1732 at age 49. Upon his death, the title passed to his brother Edward.

Literature: Milk wasn’t commonly taken in tea and coffee until the early eighteenth century and there are no milk jugs dating to before the Queen Anne period which makes this one of the first examples to be found. Cream jugs without lids date from the 1720s onwards.

*Britannia Standard. In 1696, silversmiths were forbidden to use the sterling standard for their wares, but had to use a new higher standard, 95.8 per cent. 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 and is always prized.


The milk jug is in very good condition with minor wear consistent with age. Excellent colour. It has been tested for water retention and does not leak. Some definition loss to the lion crest.

Maker Information

Maker: Benjamin Pyne

Benjamin Pyne, apprenticed to George Bowers 1667, free 1676. The maker's mark "single letter P under a crown", found shortly after 1680, appears on the 1697 copper plate at the Goldsmith's Hall, and reappears after 1720, again unentered, can safely be attributed to him. His only authenticated marks are two entered as a largeworker, undated, probably entered in 1697 on commencement of register. He held the position of Subordinate Goldsmith to the King for the coronation of George I only. His son Benjamin was apprenticed to him 21 October 1708, free 8 May 1716 and was elected Assistant Assayer in 1720. By the end of the seventeenth century Pyne was obviously, from his surviving work, a front ranking London goldsmith and shared with Anthony Nelme the main responsibility of upholding native standards against Huguenot competition, even though it's more than likely that he and Nelme employed (or bought up and remarked the work of) the latter to some extent. Pyne's connection with Hoare's bank seems to have continued for a considerable period and is perhaps responsible for the quantity of orders for municipal maces, regalia and church plate he obtained. However the end of his life was sad. On 17 January 1727, when he must have nearly been 75, he resigned from the Livery, probably due to ill health and bad eyesight, and petitioned with others for the place of Beadle to the Company, vacant by the death of John Bodington, and was elected the same day to the post.

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