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Wine fountain

  • Place of origin:

    London, England (made)

  • Date:

    1713-1714 (hallmarked)
    1833 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Platel, Pierre, born 1659 - died 1719 (maker)
    William Elliott (makers)

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.660:1 to 3-2008

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This wine fountain would have been prominently displayed on a sideboard. It was used to rinse wine glasses before they were refilled to guests at the dining table. The maker, Pierre Platel, was a prestigious Huguenot goldsmith to whom Paul de Lamerie, later the most successful smith in London, was apprenticed.

When the Catholic King Louis XIV revoked the religiously tolerant 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 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 sauce boat, 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

Rising from a large stepped circular foot this silver two handled wine fountain of vase-shaped form is surmounted by a multi-domed and waisted lid. The circular stand with a gadrooned edge has scrolling strapwork with rosettes and shell motifs, on a punched matted ground and a second row of gadrooning. The waisted socle repeats the gadrooning and a simpler form of strap work; a central band is decorated with rosettes. The bowl of the fountain is decorated with similar strapwork, scrolls, rosettes and shell-motifs on a punched matt ground. The spout terminates in a dragon's head and the lever is of cast scroll design. The central section of the vase is highly polished and punctuated by two applied oval egg-and-dart edged cartouches surmounted by a calyx of acanthus leaves. An applied cartouche on the back contains an inscription whereas the front cartouche contains a coat of arms within an ornately chased rococo cartouche. A pair of handles hangs from scroll mounts on either side of the fountain. The bulbous rim of the urn is decorated with the strapwork, scrolls, rosettes and shell-motifs on a punched matt ground (similar to the decoration on the bowl and stand). The vase is surmounted by a gadrooned border. The double-domed lid is decorated with cut-card scroll-work punctuated by vertebrate sections. The highly waisted section between the lower and upper domes is highly polished, and the dome is covered in a chased calyx of laurel leaves. The fountain is surmounted by a fleur-de-lis finial.

Place of Origin

London, England (made)


1713-1714 (hallmarked)
1833 (made)


Platel, Pierre, born 1659 - died 1719 (maker)
William Elliott (makers)

Marks and inscriptions

Domina sua clementissima Johannes Walter Baronettus Cleric: Comptrorotulat.r Hospitij Munificentia Regiamemor, Anno Pacis restituta, MDCCXIII Grati animi, et latitia Ergo; Ut cantharus et lanx sc sibi oftendat dum Optima Principi Salutem et fausta omnia quotidiae precatur'

With scratch weight 25=5 TO QUEEN ANNE, his most merciful lady, John Walter, Baronet, Clerk and Comptroller of Hospitality, Mindful of royal munificence in the year of Peace restored, 1713, being of thankful heart and full of happiness, Therefore prays that this large vessel and platter may show these sentiments plainly on his behalf while he daily prays health and everything auspicious for the best of Sovereigns.
London hallmarks for 1713-14
Mark of Pierre Platel
Coat of Arms


Height: 64 cm, Width: 35 cm approx., Depth: 41.4 cm, Diameter: 20 cm of foot, Weight: 12840 g

Descriptive line

Silver wine fountain, London hallmarks for 1713-14, mark of Pierre Platel

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

Schroder, Timothy, ed. The Gilbert Collection at the V&A. London (V&A Publishing) 2009, p. 38, pl. 23. ISBN9781851775934



Subjects depicted

Acanthus; Coats of arms; Scroll-work; Rosettes; Shells; Strapwork; Cartouches; Gadroons; Fleurs-de-lis; Laurel (foliage); Egg and dart moldings; Finials; Calyx (plant form); Cut card work; Dragon's head


Containers; Drinking; Metalwork

Collection code


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