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Cup and paten lid

Cup and paten lid

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1711-1712 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Read, John (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver-gilt, raised, embossed and engraved

  • Credit Line:

    Lent by the Rector and Churchwardens of St. Mary-le-Strand with St. Clement Danes

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:ST MARY STRAND.10:2-2004

  • Gallery location:

    Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries, case 2A []

A paten was used during Holy Communion to serve the consecrated bread. This example is part of a large set of altar plate that Elinor James, the widow of a London printer, gave to St Benet Paul’s Wharf in 1711. After her death in 1719, the set was transferred to the church of St Mary-le-Strand.

Elinor James was a champion of the Church of England. Described by a contemporary as a ‘mixture of benevolence and madness’, she was intolerant of Roman Catholics and dissenters alike. In 1689 she was committed to Newgate Prison for libel on account of her book The Vindication of the Church of England. Her obsessive piety is reflected in the inscription on the paten. It is a long, rambling prayer for ‘sincerity and humility’ that ‘thy people may become worthy partakers of thy Holy Sacrament’ and ‘not to suffer the evil spirit to bring a scandal upon it.’

Other items in the set consisted of two flagons, a cup, a paten and a crimson velvet altar cloth.

Physical description

Communion cup and paten. The cup with flared bowl and inverted trumpet-shaped foot. The paten circular with raised inverted hexagonal pattern in the central reserve.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1711-1712 (made)

Artist/maker

Read, John (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver-gilt, raised, embossed and engraved

Marks and inscriptions

Maker's mark RE for John Read

Object history note

Given by Elinor James to St. Bennet Paul's Wharf and transferred to St. Mary le Strand after her death

Historical significance: Gifts of Elinor James
This plate comes from a larger set given by Elinor James in 1711. She was the widow of a London printer. Described by a contemporary as a ‘mixture of benevolence and madness’, she was an eccentric champion of the Church of England, intolerant of Roman Catholics and dissenters alike. In 1689 Elinor was committed to Newgate Prison for libel on account of her book The Vindication of the Church of England. The exceptionally long inscriptions on these objects reflect her obsessive piety.

Historical context note

Gifts to the Church
Gifts were the most important source of English church plate in the 17th century. The donor was usually a prominent member of the community, which in country parishes often meant the local landowner. But gifts came from other sources too. Many were given by women, showing their active involvement with the church. Churchwardens also took pride in commissioning new silver and often contributed to the cost. Occasionally, gifts like Lord Hertford’s chalice and flagon were made to win support for a political cause.

Not all of these gifts were new. Old-fashioned domestic plate, often richly decorated with secular ornament, was welcomed and used for the service of communion or the collection of alms.

Part of a set of silver-gilt altar plate consisting of two flagons, and a cup and paten presented by Elinor James with a crimson velvet altar cloth embroidered in silver with the sacred monogram 'IHS'

Descriptive line

Communion cup and paten lid, silver, raised, embossed and engraved, made by John Read, London, 1711-1712.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Freshfield, Edwin. The Communion Plate of the Parish Churches in the County of London. London: Rixon and Arnold, 1895.

Labels and date

Communion Cup and Paten
A paten was used during Holy Communion to serve the consecrated bread. This example is part of a large set of altar plate that Elinor James, the widow of a London printer, gave to St Benet Paul’s Wharf in 1711. After her death in 1719, the set was transferred to the church of St Mary-le-Strand.

Elinor James was a champion of the Church of England. Described by a contemporary as a ‘mixture of benevolence and madness’, she was intolerant of Roman Catholics and dissenters alike. In 1689 she was committed to Newgate Prison for libel on account of her book The Vindication of the Church of England. Her obsessive piety is reflected in the inscription on the paten. It is a long, rambling prayer for ‘sincerity and humility’ that ‘thy people may become worthy partakers of thy Holy Sacrament’ and ‘not to suffer the evil spirit to bring a scandal upon it.’

Other items in the set consisted of two flagons, a cup, a paten and a crimson velvet altar cloth.
London, England, 1711–2; by John Read
(active 1677–1712). Silver gilt
Lent by Rector and Churchwardens of St Mary-le-
Strand with St Clement Danes [22/11/2005]

Materials

Silver-gilt

Techniques

Raising; Embossing; Engraving

Categories

Metalwork; Christianity; Religion

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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