7286
Charles II Silver Wine Taster

Date: 1669

Maker: Thomas King

Country: England

Stock Number: 7286

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A rare early English silver dish of circular shallow form with two wrythen side handles. Lovely simple design with a half fluted design to the lower body, bands of matting, and prick dot decoration. Weight 143 grams, 4.6 troy ounces. Height 3.5 cms. Diameter 13.5 cms. Spread across handles 18.5 cms. English silver hallmarks stamped around the edge for London 1669. Makers mark TK (Jacksons P.125), probably Thomas King* free 1657, died 1681.

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").

Signed/Inscribed: *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 1697. All records were destroyed in the fire at Goldsmiths Hall in 1681 when the Assay Office and apartments of the Assayer and Clerk in the south west wing of the building were burned down. From 1697 onwards Goldsmiths Hall has preserved a complete record of workmen's marks, addresses, together with their names and the dates. 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*).

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