A Good Early Charles II Porringer

Gilbert Shepherd
4" (10.2cm) high to rim, 4.5" (11.4cm) diameter
10 oz

Of bellied circular shape embossed with anemones and other flowers and applied with two cast caryatid handles, all upon a plain dropped base. The front with pricked initials W over WA between the date 16...54.


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Porringers first appeared during the Commonwealth period and were usually quite small in size. With the restoration of Charles II to the throne in 1660 the more bellied form became the most popular for the next 25 years. The Dutch influence was also very prevalent at this time with many pieces embossed with tulips. The Civil War had caused many a fine piece to be melted and in the early years of the restoration silver was in relative short supply. By embossing it with bold and large reliefs it strengthened the body of a piece allowing less silver to be used. Lions, unicorns, stags and bears can all be found at this time usually intermingled with foliage whilst the handles tended to be either scolled or like the present example with caryatids. There is a school of thought that suggests that there were just one or two firms solely making such accessories and often the quality was basic. The handles on this 1661 porringer are quite sophisticated compared to many although after over 350 years of use they have become a little rubbed on the noses!

The date of the inscription predates the year of manufacture by 7 years so it would seem logical that it was given to commemorate an earlier event.