Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1685 (made)
    1545-55 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Pyne, Benjamin (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Raised, stamped, cast, engraved, embossed and gilded 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 70, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 1, shelf 2

In its present state, this jug provides a revealing insight into late 17th century attitudes towards old plate. The body, although not hallmarked, can be dated by its style to about 1680. However, the mounts predate the body by more than a century. It is likely that the mounts were originally made for a glass vessel which was accidentally broken and replaced by a silver body in the same shape, decorated in the 17th century fashion.

This piece is an example of 16th century domestic silver. Such silver was both functional and ornamental. Objects for dining and drinking took elegant forms and were decorated in the latest styles. Beautifully crafted items intended only for display often adopted functional forms such as cups and dishes. Domestic silver was not confined to the most wealthy. Many people owned silver spoons or mounted vessels, items which often became treasured possessions.

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

A silver and silver-gilt bulbous lidded pot with a cylindrical neck rests on a slightly spreading foot. The body is flat-chased with chinoiserie scenes including figures, exotic birds and foliage. The neck is decorated with pounced matting. The S-scroll handle terminates at its lower junction in a lion-mask. The silver-gilt foot mount is stamped with stylised foliate motifs, and foliate tongues above. The lip is mounted similarly with chased foliate-and-scroll designs with foliate tongues. The slightly raised cover is chased with foliage-and-scrolls on a matted ground. The thumbpiece is in the form of a mermaid and the cover is surmounted by a baluster finial.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca.1685 (made)
1545-55 (made)


Pyne, Benjamin (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Raised, stamped, cast, engraved, embossed and gilded silver

Marks and inscriptions

No hallmarks

Mark of Benjamin Pyne


Height: 14.1 cm, Width: 11 cm, Weight: 460 g

Object history note

Provenance: Purchased from Ronald A. Lee (Fine Arts), Ltd., London, 1985.

Historical significance: In its present state, the pot provides a revealing insight into late seventeenth century attitudes towards old plate. The body, although not hallmarked, almost certainly dates from about 1680-85, since virtually all hallmarked plate decorated in this style is of that period. The most likely conjecture is that the original body, possibly of glass, was accidentally broken around that time and replaced by a silver body that reproduced the form of the original vessel while being decorated in the current fashion (...see: cat. no. 31). Antiquarian interest in plate rarely existed before the nineteenth century, so it was more probable that the mounts were preserved because the pot was a family heirloom...(Schroder, 1988, pp. 40, 43).

Descriptive line

Silver, parcel-gilt, London, (no hallmarks), ca.1685, mark of Benjamin Pyne

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

Schroder, Timothy. 'Early English silver rarities'. The Antique Collector. June 1986, vol. 57, no. 6, fig. 2, pp. 117-19.
Schroder, Timothy. The Gilbert collection of gold and silver. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1988, cat. no. 4, pp. 40-43. ISBN.0875871445.

Labels and date

(Gallery 70, case 1)
10–14. Mounted wares
Inexpensive objects of turned wood and stoneware, and more costly glass vessels were transformed by the addition of silver, pewter
or gold mounts. These metal bands, often decorated in the latest fashion, protected and enhanced the objects.

14. Jug with earlier mounts, about 1685, mounts 1545–55
England; body by Benjamin Pyne (died 1732)
Silver and gilded silver
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.988-2008 [16/11/2016]

Production Note

Body dated c. 1685; mounts dated 1545 - 55 The maker's mark on the pot is not identified in the records at Goldsmith's Hall but is associated with Benjamin Pyne by both Jackson (1921, p. 142) and Grimwade (1976, p. 635) (Schroder, 1988, p. 43).


Silver; Silver-gilt


Raising; Soldering; Casting; Flat chasing; Pouncing; Chasing; Stamping (marking); Gilding

Subjects depicted

Lion mask; Foliage; Mermaid; Birds; Figures




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.