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  • Place of origin:

    London (assayed)

  • Date:

    1691-1692 (hallmarked)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Nelme, Anthony (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Raised, cast, pierced, cut card, moulded and partially gilded (parcel-gilt) silver

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.589:1, 2-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 70, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 4, shelf 2 []

This bowl, one of a pair, was probably used to hold lotions or cosmetics. It once formed part of a 21-piece lady’s toilet service, weighing in total over 11 kilos. The cipher on the cover is for Judith Bridgeman, daughter of Sir John Bridgeman (d.1713), second baronet of Castle Bromwich, Warwickshire.

Outside the wealthiest court circles, 17th century silver was used primarily for eating and drinking. The dining table was the heart of social activity, and novelty items were made for fashionable new drinks flavoured with spices and drinking games. The range of British silver for the home from this period (the first for which a representative quantity survives) demonstrates increasing foreign influences from France, the Netherlands and Portugal. The rising demand for fashionably decorated European silver from the 1660s onwards reflects Britain’s new wealth and political stability.

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

Two-handled, shallow bowl of circular form on a gadrooned, spreading foot, the lower part of the body decorated with pierced, swirling cut-card fluting, the S-scroll handles moulded with beading. The slightly raised cover has a gadrooned border and an applied cipher, thought to be that of Judith Bridgeman, in the centre within a reeded and chased gadrooned surround.

Place of Origin

London (assayed)


1691-1692 (hallmarked)


Nelme, Anthony (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Raised, cast, pierced, cut card, moulded and partially gilded (parcel-gilt) silver

Marks and inscriptions

London hallmarks for 1691-2

Mark of Anthony Nelme

Cipher on the cover for Judith Bridgeman, daughter of Sir John Bridgeman (d.1713), second baronet of Castle Bromwich, Warwickshire.

Sterling standard


Height: 7.5 cm, Width: 18 cm, Depth: 12.9 cm, Weight: 560 g

Object history note

Provenance: Possibly Judith Bridgeman, Castle Bromwich, Warwickshire. Reginald Astley (complete service). Mrs Mylins, sale, Sotheby's, lot 166 (complete service), May 30, 1935. William Randolph Hearst, sale, Christie's, lot 67 (complete service), December 14, 1938. Prince David Z. Molviani, sale, Sotheby's, lot 117 (complete service), November 30, 1967. Sale, Christie's, lot 111, November 28, 1979.

Descriptive line

Parcel-gilt silver covered bowl; Anthony Nelme, London, 1691-2

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

Schroder, Timothy. The Gilbert collection of gold and silver, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1988, cat. no. 33, pp. 137-40. ISBN.0875871445
Art at Auction: The Year at Sotheby's and Parke-Bernet 1967-68, p. 368.
Banister, Judith. 'Some Ingredients of Silver Toilet services'. The Proceedings of the Society of Silver Collectors 2, p. 39.
Brett, Vanessa. The Sotheby's Directory of Silver, 1600-1940. London: Sotheby's Publications, 1986, no. 545.

Labels and date

(Gallery 70, case 4)
10. Tankard
London, England; John Richardson (died 1697–98)
Engraved with coat of arms of the Weekes family of Hurstpierpoint, Sussex
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.611-2008 [16/11/2016]


Silver; Silver-gilt


Raising; Casting; Piercing; Moulding; Parcel gilding

Subjects depicted

Reeding; Chasing; Beading; Cipher; Cut card; Gadroons


Metalwork; Containers


Metalwork Collection

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