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Ewer and basin

Silver, parcel-gilt and enamel

Origin: London

Date: 2008

Ewer: 27.5 cm height. Basin: 49.5 cm diameter

Marks/Maker: London, sterling standard, 925 standard mark, 2008, maker's mark of Rod Kelly; enamelwork was by Sheila McDonald

Commissioned by Michael Gettleson on behalf of the Whiteley family in celebration of the centenary of the unification of the Ashmolean Museum and the University Galleries to create the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in November, 1908; WA2008.91.1; WA2008.91.2

The design of this ewer and basin was inspired by the history and fabric of the Museum. Their form echoes Medieval and Renaissance examples in the collection and the rich decorative scheme is commanded by griffins derived from the friezes of the Cockerell building as they parade amongst fruit and foliage taken from a series of watercolours known as 'Tradescant's Orchard'. The enamelled plaques are also from 'Tradescant's Orchard'. (The series, now in the Bodleian, was painted after John Tradescant's trip to France in 1611.) Around the central roundel, there is a band of ASH leaves, with the snout and paws of a MOLE poking out.

Information derived from T. Schroder, British and Continental Gold and Silver in the Ashmolean (2009)