8131
Charles II Miniature Silver Wine Taster

Date: Circa 1670

Country: England

Stock Number: 8131

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A rare early English toy two-handled wine taster in sterling silver from the reign of Charles II. With a simple plain form and wirework handles. This little cup has an excellent patina and hammered finish. Contains 10 ml approx. Weight 12 grams. Height 2 cms. Diameter of top 4.5 cms. Spread across handles 6.7 cms. Marked underneath with the makers mark only "WH conjoined, mullet below". Mark entered 1670 (see Jacksons page 130*).

Literature: Silver toys in the 16th and 17th century were made predominately for the children of kings and queens. The Dutch were the leading manufacturers, their most prolific period being 1725-1750, and by then wealthy royalty, landowners and business men were buying toys for their own pleasure as well as that of their children's. During that period England was still suffering under Puritanism and it wasn't until the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 that silver toys were made available in this country. The earliest English silver toys date from 1665 and were made in London; it was uncommon for toys to be made in the provinces.

Signed/Inscribed: * It is unusual to have a makers 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.

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