Antique Queen Anne Silver Sugar Caster

Date: 1704

Maker: Andrew Raven

Country: England

Stock Number: 8743

Very rare double walled design. An antique silver muffineer in the traditional lighthouse design so typical of these very early casters. Britannia standard silver*. The cover extends right down to the girdle above the armorial, covering the main body. This lovely castor is of heavy quality and feels good in the hand. To the front there is a hand engraved armorial within a large decorative cartouche. The base is plain styled with fluted borders, the top is simply pierced, the holes are quite large as crushed loaf sugar was still in use at this early date. Unengraved. Weight 391 grams, 12.5 troy ounces. Height 19 cms. Diameter of base 8.5 cms. London 1704. Makers mark for Andrew Raven.

Few castors of this type were made. Probably because it was more expensive than other designs as additional silver was required.

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.

Casters didn't become common household objects until the late 17th century. They were made in varying sizes and designs and were usually for sugar or pepper although the blind caster, the earliest form of mustard pot, was used for dry mustard. The old spelling 'castor' is less frequently used nowadays.

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