Charles II Silver Porringer

Date: 1680

Maker: John Archbold

Country: England

Stock Number: 9925

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A good early antique silver porringer with simple shaped side handles. The lower body has an embossed band of acanthus leaf decoration. Hand engraved to the front are the initials “S” over “BS”* in old script within a decorative plumage cartouche.

Weight 258 grams, 8.2 troy ounces.

Height 9cm. Spread across handles 17.5cm. Diameter 11.2cm.

London 1680.

Marked underneath with the makers mark "IA” within a dotted circle, possibly John Archbold (*see David Mitchell’s book on “Silversmiths in Stuart and Elizabethan England”).

Sterling silver. 

Marks. Stamped underneath with a full set of English silver hallmarks, the leopard head and makers mark not fully struck. The hand engraved manteling to the front shows some wear. 

* It is unusual to have a maker’s name for a piece of silver of this early date as there are no precise records of silver makers marks prior to 1681. All records were destroyed in the fire at Goldsmiths Hall in that year when the Assay Office and apartments of the Assayer and Clerk in the south west wing of the building were burned down. Sometimes the details of makers can be discovered from old records such as the inventories of noble houses and other institutions.
The first surviving record at Goldsmiths Hall is the 1682 copper plate made to start the recording process again. This has recently prompted a study by Dr David Mitchell, supported by Goldsmiths Hall, resulting in the publication of his 2017 “Silversmiths in Elizabethan and Stuart London”. This reference work identifies previously unknown makers marks and assigns marks struck on existing plate to individuals (attributions for 540 separate marks).

Literature: Porringers are two handled bowls and some have a cover. They can also be known as caudle cups although the origin of the porringer was for porridge and the caudle cup was for a type of broth. From the eighteenth century onwards, porringers and cups and covers were used mainly as centrepieces or ornaments. In recent times they have seen a resurgence in popularity for drinking and on the dining table. They make a very attractive baby gift. 

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