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  • Place of origin:

    London (assayed)

  • Date:

    1723-1724 (hallmarked)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lamerie, Paul de, born 1688 - died 1751 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Raised, cast, chased, punched and engraved silver

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 71, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 4, shelf 1

This bowl and its accompanying dish, still in brilliant condition, were made for John Spencer, grandson of the 1st Duke of Marlborough. They were formerly at the Spencer family home, Althorp, in Northamptonshire, where the bowl was traditionally used for christenings.

When King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685, Huguenots (French Protestants) were forced to leave the country. Many were craftsmen who settled in London. Their technical skills and fashionable French style ensured that the luxury silver, furniture, watches and jewellery they made were highly sought after. Huguenot specialists transformed English silver by introducing higher standards of craftsmanship. They promoted new forms, such as the soup tureen and sauceboat, and introduced a new repertoire of ornament, with cast sculptural details and exquisite engraving.

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. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.

Physical description

The circular bowl stands on a stepped, spreading foot chased with a band of shells, scrolls and foliage on a punched matted ground, the sides are nearly straight, chased with broad vertical fluting and a shaped everted lip, the Spencer and Carteret families' coat of arms is engraved in the centre.

Place of Origin

London (assayed)


1723-1724 (hallmarked)


Lamerie, Paul de, born 1688 - died 1751 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Raised, cast, chased, punched and engraved silver

Marks and inscriptions

Engraved with the arms of the Spencer and Carteret families; for Spencer
Quarterly argent and gules, in the second and third quarters a fret or, on a bend sable three escallops of the first
and for Carteret four fusils in fess argent

London hallmarks for 1723-4

Mark of Paul de Lamerie


Height: 11.3 cm, Diameter: 20.2 cm, Weight: 1000 g

Object history note

Provenance: The Hon. John Spencer, Althorp, Northamponshire. By descent to the earls Spencer. Purchased from S.J. Phillips, Ltd,. London, 1981.

The Hon. John Spencer (d.1746) married in 1734 Lady Georgiana Carolina, third daughter of John Carteret, 1st Earl Granville. John Spencer was the younger son of Charles, 3rd Earl of Sunderland, and Anne, daughter and co-heiress of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. A miniature of John Spencer's only son John, 1st Earl Spencer (1734-1784) by Jean Etienne Liotard is mounted in an ivory box in the Gilbert Collection http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O156530/snuffbox-liotard-jean-etienne/

Historical context note

Paul de Lamerie (1688-1751) was the greatest silversmith working in England in the 18th century. A Huguenot or French Protestant he came to London with his parents, fleeing persecution in France. His success lay in his own exceptional creativity in producing stunning objects, but also in his ability as a businessman, retailing some astonishingly spectacular silver using the best and most innovative suppliers in the trade.

Christenings often took place in a domestic setting shortly after the birth of the child. Baptism in the home was accepted practice when necessity so dictated – particularly when the child was weak and not expected to live. In addition to ‘the Ministration of Publick Baptism of Infants to be used in the Church’, the Book of Common Prayer includes the order of service for ‘The Ministration of Private Baptism of Children in Houses’. The ‘Curates of every Parish’ are to recommend that the people ‘defer not the Baptism of their children longer than the first or second Sunday next after their birth or other Holy-day falling between’. An earlier example of a silver basin marked by London goldsmith Anthony Nelme, 1692, used as a Christening basin and subsequently engraved with the arms of Sir Matthew Featherstonhaugh, 1st Baronett, and his Huguenot wife Sarah Lethieullier, remains in the collection at Uppark (National Trust).

Sir Arthur Gilbert collected over twenty-five pieces marked de Lamerie. On display in the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries in addition to this sauceboat of 1726-7, are a pair of 1722-3 soup tureens and later soup ladles. The most elaborate pieces were modelled and chased by the celebrated ‘Maynard Master’ in de Lamerie's workshop. These include the 1738-9 Le Quesne tea kettle,1743-4 coffee pot, the 1742-3 Mountrath ewer and the 1743-4 two handled cup and cover, a 1736-7 waiter and a pair of 1742-3 salvers. The candelabra and bread basket supplied by de Lamerie in 1731-2 for Britain's first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole were acquired as GIlbert was as interested in the association with leading past collectors as in the craftsmen who supplied and made this extraordinary silver.

Descriptive line

Silver, London hallmarks for 1723-4, mark of Paul de Lamerie

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

Phillips, P.A.S. Paul de Lamerie, citizen and goldsmith of London: A study of his life and work, 1688-1757. London: B.T. Batsford, 1935, p.79, pls. XXVI-XXVII

Schroder, Timothy. The Gilbert collection of gold and silver, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1988, cat. no. 43, pp.180-183
Grimwade, Arthur. 'Silver at Althorp III: The Huguenot Period', The Connoisseur, 153, June 1963, p. 91
Clayton, Michael. The Collector's dictionary of the silver and gold of Great Britain and North America. London: Country Life Books/Hamlyn Publishing Group, 1971, p.30 & p.33, no. 45.
Grimwade, Arthur. Rococo Silver, 1727-1765. London: Faber and Faber, 1974. pp. 5-6, pl. 1. ISBN.0671105262
Clayton, Michael. The Collector's dictionary of the silver and gold of Great Britain and North America. 2nd ed. London: Antique Collectors' Club, 1985, p. 43, no. 45.
Schroder, Timothy. The Gilbert collection of gold and silver. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1988, cat. no. 43, pp. 180-83. ISBN.0875871445

Labels and date

(Gallery 71, case 4)
2, 4. Bowl and dish
Bowl, 1723–24. Dish, 1725–26
This bowl and dish demonstrate how de Lamerie developed his repertoire of ornamental pieces. The border of the dish is copied from one by his former master Pierre Platel, made 20 years earlier. De Lamerie added shells to enhance it. Over time such small changes created shifts in style.
London, England; Paul de Lamerie (1688–1751)
Engraved with arms of the Spencer and Carteret families
Museum nos. Loan:Gilbert.651, 652-2008 [16/11/2016]




Raising; Casting; Chasing; Punching; Engraving (incising)

Subjects depicted

Coats of arms


Food vessels & Tableware; Metalwork; Christianity


Metalwork Collection

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