Porringer (part of The Grand Service) 1606
A silver-gilt porringer and cover with a coiled serpent ring handle. The cover is engraved with the four Evangelists, each in an oval reserve, surrounded by the four Elements, on a matted ground. The porringer has two flat lateral coiled serpent handles and a ring foot, and is engraved with two oval reserves telling the story of Jacob buying his brother Esau's birth-right for a mess of pottage. The frieze is engraved with putti.
The shape of this porringer is unusual for Dutch silver of this date, particularly the flattened handles. It is a tour de force of engraving – foliate and floral scrolls are raised above a hatched ground, so the surrounding metal must have been cut away, and the detail is extremely finely reproduced. Although not all the sources of the engravings have been traced a number relate to works by Abraham van der Hecken and others to prints by Philips Galle after Maarten van Heemskerk.
The work is engraved on the base with the name Anna Michiels van Vaerlaer (1583/4 - 1644) who came from a prominent Mennonite family in Amsterdam. It may be that this piece was a baptism gift for her - a highly unusual one, given that Mennonites tended to shun luxury, but perhaps justified by its iconographic scheme.
ProvenanceProbably purchased by George IV on 12 December 1826 from Rundell, Bridge & Rundell for £21, with a further 3s for engraving the crest, £6 18s for gilding and £1 16s for a case.
- People involved
- Physical properties
p. 46, pl. XIII, 2 (EAJ : Jones, E.A., 1911. The Gold and Silver of Windsor Castle, Letchworth)