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THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR
A GEORGE III IRISH NAVETTE-SHAPED GOLD FREEDOM BOX, the hinged cover engraved with the arms and motto of the city of Cork within ribbon-tied floral swags, the border and walls bright-cut with foliate swags and flowers, the base with a presentation inscription, by Joseph Nicholson, Cork, 1787

Details
A GEORGE III IRISH NAVETTE-SHAPED GOLD FREEDOM BOX, the hinged cover engraved with the arms and motto of the city of Cork within ribbon-tied floral swags, the border and walls bright-cut with foliate swags and flowers, the base with a presentation inscription, by Joseph Nicholson, Cork, 1787
3¾in. (9.5cm.) wide
Provenance
Francis Rowland, the brother of Samuel Rowland
Edward Rowland, the son of Francis Rowland and thence by descent
Andrew Wood-Rowland
Geoffrey Francis Pendergast Rowland
Literature
E. M. Fahy, Freedom Box of the Cork Incorporated Trading Guilds, in: 'Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society', Part II, vol. LIX, no. 190, July-December 1954, p. 63ff

Lot Essay

The inscription reads:'The Honorary Freedom of the Several Incorporated Trading Guilds of the City of Cork was Unanimously voted, with this Gold Box and Inscription to be presented to their late most Eccellent Chief Magistrate Samuel Rowland Esqr. in token of their Veneration and esteem for so respectable a Character, and in grateful testimony of the many eminent Services obtained during his very exemplary and distinguish'd year of office; amongst which will froever stand recorded his having Instituted a Charity of #200 Pr Annum for the relief of distressed Freemen their Widows and Children his Establishing a Dispensary and Humane Society, and also reviving and reuniting the Several Trading Companies on the most enlarged and liberal Principles redounding to the Honor and Dignity of the Station he so ably fitted; and with such Credit to himself and Advantage to his Fellow Citizens so Independently and Uprightly discharged the Duties of. Signed by Appointment for & on behalf of all the Trading Companies George Seymour President of the General Meeting & Master of the Company of Gold Smiths Decr 1787'.

Samuel Rowland was a successful merchant in Cork. He married Ann Hewitt in 1764, and had no issue. He was Mayor of the city of Cork from 1786-1787.

Joseph Nicholson is known to have worked in Cork from 1780-1795 as goldsmith and jeweller as well as sword cutler.

According to the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society of July-December 1954, the presentation of the Freedom Box was accompanied by an illuminated address listing the trading companies donating the box, and their masters. The text of the address clearly states that these guilds were "for many Years dropped & discontinued but now revived and incorporated on the Admiral Principles" by Samuel Rowland, who felt that the re-establishment of the company idea would further the well being of the city and add "to the Prosperity & Advancement of the various Branches of the Traders and Manufacturers".

From the inscription on the base of the box we learn about the various charities Samuel Rowland founded whilst Mayor of Cork. Sadly we do not know how the #200 Charity was exactly organised as the records of the Court d'Oyer Hundred were destroyed after 1729. The Dispensary and Humane Charity provided free medicine and medical treatment to the poor. It was one of the first official state measures to alleviate public distress as charities were until then privately endowed. The Humane Charity, probably Rowland's private initiative - it is not recorded in the Council Book, introduced street lamps and signs and a regular street cleaning service to the city of Cork. Another of its aims was the planning and erection of public buildings, the maintenance of security and a respectable standard of dress in the city
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