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  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1583-1584 (hallmarked)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Musi, Agostino dei (engraver)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver gilt, embossed and chased, with cast details

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case 17

Object Type
The central band of this silver-gilt ewer is composed of sea creatures in a choppy ocean. This watery scene is appropriate for a ewer and basin, relating as it does to the ewer's function of pouring water.

Sources of Design
The decoration on the ewer reflects the Renaissance and highly sophisticated, Mannerist styles that were current on the Continent. They were spread throughout Europe primarily by means of engravings. By the mid-16th century goldsmiths in England had access to many such sources, as is clear from the new and fantastical decoration on their work.

The crouching lion on the upper part of the handle of this ewer is based on a print of 1531 by the Italian engraver Agostino Veneziano. (This is also displayed in the British Galleries. See museum no. 16842.) Prints of ancient Roman vases were especially influential in promoting classical ornament. Although the designs comprise a mixture of modern and antique motifs, many were inscribed in Latin to exaggerate the supposed antiquity of the vases. The series of printed vases made in Rome were often aimed at the tourist or foreign markets.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1583-1584 (hallmarked)


Musi, Agostino dei (engraver)

Materials and Techniques

Silver gilt, embossed and chased, with cast details

Marks and inscriptions

Maker's mark 'RS'; engraved with the crest of Fuller


Height: 33 cm, Width: 17 cm including handle, Depth: 14 cm, Diameter: 10 cm base

Object history note

Per Crichton at the Swaythling Sale

Descriptive line

The Veneziano-Fuller ewer

Labels and date

British Galleries:

Agostino Veneziano engraved this print in Italy in 1531. An inscription on it records that it shows an antique Roman object. Just over 50 years later an unknown goldsmith made this ewer in London. The goldsmith must have known the print as he copied the distinctive lion-shaped handle when he made the ewer. Servants brought a ewer and basin to the dining table, for the principal guests to wash their hands after dinner. They were amongst the most showy items of domestic silver. [27/03/2003]




Metalwork Collection

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