Antique Queen Anne Silver Pilgrim Flask

Date: Circa 1710

Country: England

Stock Number: 9091

A rare early English silver drinks flask of small size in the form of a medieval pilgrim flask. Plain form and heavy gauge silver with a screw-on top and pendant chain. There is a large decorative cartouche hand engraved to both sides with an armorial to the front (probably for Underhill of Stratford-upon-Avon) and a crest of a stag to the reverse. Weight 173 grams, 5.5 troy ounces. Height 13 cms. Width 8 cms. Unmarked English silver. Circa 1710. Illustrated in Michael Clayton's Pictorial History of English & American Silver (see photos).

Literature: Early Medieval pilgrimage ampullae or small flasks were designed to hold holy oil brought back from the Holy Land. The oil was taken from the lamps which burn in front of important pilgrimage shrines and was believed to be able to heal the sick. The pilgrim flask usually has a flat body, circular or pear shaped, with a short neck, spreading foot, and often a chain. It could be suspended around the neck or was sometimes hung on the bedpost for protection from demons at night.

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