Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Basket

  • Place of origin:

    London (assayed)

  • Date:

    1797-1798 (hallmarked)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Storr, Paul, born 1771 - died 1844 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast, pierced, chased and engraved silver-gilt

  • Credit Line:

    The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.735-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 71, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 5

This basket, wrought to look like woven ears of wheat, was made for the wealthy collector and patron, William Beckford (1760-1844) of Fonthill Abbey. Silver baskets were normally used to serve bread at the dinner table, but this one is extremely heavy and thus was most probably intended for display only.

By the early 19th century, the immense wealth of Britain's richest citizens enabled them to patronise the luxury trades of coach-builders, cabinet-makers and silversmiths. The Prince Regent (later George IV) and his aristocratic contemporaries set the style of what became known as the Regency period. They were indebted to the most prestigious firm of London goldsmiths of the age, Rundell, Bridge & Rundell. The company supplied silver at the forefront of fashion. Their large design studio included important artists such as John Flaxman and Jean-Jacques Boileau.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. They also collected a pair of Chinese Ch'ien-lung porcelain coffee pots ca.1736 to which the London silversmith James Aldridge added silver mounts for William Beckford in 1820-21 and a carved agate cup with with cast and engraved gilded silver mounts, 1815-20. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.

Physical description

Silver-gilt basket in the form of plaited ears of wheat. The pierced rim foot is chased with trellised basketwork with plaiting above and below. The spreading sides are formed as forty groups of three ears of wheat plaited together, the curling ears forming the border. A band of reed-and-tie ornament is applied around the lower part of the basket. The underside of the plain base is engraved with the crest of William Beckford (1760-1844).

Place of Origin

London (assayed)

Date

1797-1798 (hallmarked)

Artist/maker

Storr, Paul, born 1771 - died 1844 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Cast, pierced, chased and engraved silver-gilt

Marks and inscriptions

Engraved with the armorial crest of William Beckford
A heron's head erased or, gorged with a collar flory, counterflory gules in the beak a fish argent.

London hallmarks for 1797-98

Mark of Paul Storr

Dimensions

Height: 13.5 cm, Width: 51.5 cm, Depth: 39.5 cm, Weight: 8580 g

Object history note

Provenance: William Beckford, Fonthill Abbey, Wiltshire; sale, Christie's, lot 75 or 76 (9th day's sale), 18 October 1822. John Farquhar. Victor Rothschild; sale, Sotheby's, lot 20 (the pair). April 26th, 1937. Francis Stonor. Mrs. Fay Plohn; sale, Sotheby's, lot 79, October 15th, 1970. Purchased from S.J. Shrubsole Corporation, New York, 1970.

Historical context note

This basket is one of a pair although the present whereabouts of the other is unknown. They were intended for bread and probably placed on the dining table or side board.

Descriptive line

Silver-gilt basket in the form of plaited ears of wheat; Paul Storr, London, 1797-98

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

Penzer, N. M. Paul Storr, 1771-1844: Silversmith and Goldsmith. London, B. T. Batsford, 1954. Reprint. London: Spring Books, 1971, pl. X, p. 98. Schroder, Timothy, The GIlbert Collection of Gold and Silver, Los Angeles, 1988, no.86, pp.324-327.
Art at Auction: The Year at Sotheby's and Parke-Bernet 1970-71, London; New York: Sotheby & Co. [etc.], p. 309.
Hillier, Bevis. 'The Gilbert Collection of Silver'. The Connoisseur, June 1976, vol. 192, no.772, pp. 114-21.
Snodin, Michael and Baker, Malcolm. 'William Beckford's Silver II', The Burlington Magazine, December 1980, p. 828, Appendix E20.
Brett, Vanessa. The Sotheby's Directory of Silver, 1600-1940. London: Sotheby Publications, 1986, no.1112. ISBN.0856671932.
Schroder, Timothy. The Gilbert collection of gold and silver. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1988, cat. no. 86, pp. 324-27. ISBN.0875871445.
Jones, William Ezelle. Exhibition catalogue, Monumental silver: selections from the Gilbert Collection. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1977, cat. no. 21.

Labels and date

1. Basket with plaited wheat
1797–98

This basket represents woven ears of wheat, an appropriate decoration for serving bread. Wheat symbolised harvest and hospitality. This basket was made for the famous collector William Beckford by the celebrated goldsmith Paul Storr.

London, England; Paul Storr (1771–1844)
Gilded silver
Engraved with crest of William Beckford (1760–1844)
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.735-2008 [16/11/2016]
Basket with plaited wheat
1797–8
The basket, designed to look like woven ears of wheat, was made for the wealthy collector and patron, William Beckford (1760–1844). It may have been designed by Beckford himself or his friend Gregorio Franchi. Silver baskets were used to serve bread at the dinner table, but this one is extremely heavy and must have been intended for display.
London, England; Paul Storr (1771–1844)
Gilded silver
Engraved with crest of William Beckford
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.735-2008 [2009]

Production Note

The foot is cast and fastened to the upper part of the basket with eight pins; the base is fitted between the foot and basket and is not otherwise secured. The sides are formed from plaited and soldered wires. The band of reed and tie is cast and applied to the stalks.

Materials

Silver-gilt

Techniques

Casting; Piercing; Chasing; Engraving (incising); Gilding

Subjects depicted

Basketwork; Trellis; Ears of wheat; Crest

Categories

Food vessels & Tableware; Metalwork; Heraldry

Collection

Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.