Queen Anne Silver Cruet

Date: 1704

Maker: David Willaume

Country: England


A rare early English silver oil and vinegar stand. Excellent weight and good Huguenot maker. The cut crystal bottles have detachable silver tops. The frame has a round carrying handle and side supports for the bottle tops. The top of the frame has a hand engraved armorial which matches those on the bottle tops.

Total weight of silver 500 grams, 16 troy ounces.

Height 21cm. Frame measures 17cm x 8.5cm.

London 1704.

Maker David Willaume I.

*Britannia standard silver.

Signed/Inscribed. The stand and bottle tops all have the insignia for the Order of the Garter (the Royal Coat of Arms), the highest order of chivalry. The motto "Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense" means "Evil (or shame) be to him that evil thinks.' Silverware bearing this armorial would often have been supplied by the reigning British monarch as part of the costly ambassadorial silver for the British ambassador upon his appointment.

*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.

Literature. The earliest antique silver Cruet frames, containing 3 castors and 2 glass bottles, were made from c.1700 onwards. At this early date the two bottle Oil and Vinegar frame was occasionally produced although these were more popular on the continent.

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