Collection Highlights: Western Art
Ewer and basin
Silver gilt, London 1592; makerís mark IN. Diameter of basin 41.2 cm; height of ewer 29.8 cm.
The basin is enamelled with the arms of Richard Proctor, Master of the Company of Merchant Taylors of London, and his wife, and the ewer and basin are mentioned in Proctor's will made in 1610. Ewers and basins, used for washing hands at table in days before forks were in regular use, were the most ambitious form of Elizabethan table plate, but few have escaped being melted down over the centuries. The ewer and basin are chased over the whole surface with a characteristically Elizabethan pattern of strapwork and flowers. [Formerly in the collection of early English silver made by the financier Sir Ernest Cassel (1852–1921) and purchased with the aid of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the National Art Collections Fund, and private donations, 2005. WA2005.131.1-2].
Second Floor, Room 55, Silver