Each baluster, on a circular spreading foot, the detachable domed covers with leaf-clasped pomegranate finials, chased overall with flowerheads and foliage between bands of stylised acanthus leaves, each engraved beneath with a number and scratchweight '8 88=0'; '11 33=15' and '12 32=15'
The larger - 15 1/4 in. (38.5 cm.) high; the two smaller - 10 5/8 in. (27 cm.) high
157 oz. (4,891 gr.)
The Earl of Home; Christie's London, 17 June 1919, lot 31 (£120 to Harman).
Acquired from Bulgari, circa 1955-1960.
The Carraro Rizzoli Collection; sold Christie’s, London, 14 December 2006, lot 100.
London, South Kensington Museum, Special Exhibition of Work of Art of the Mediaeval, Renaissance and more recent periods, June, 1862, nos. 5881-5883.

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Lot Essay

The restoration of Charles II as King of England, in 1660, saw a very sizable expansion in the demand for wrought silver as the taxes which had been levied by both sides to pay for the armies, were lifted. People sought to replace the plate which had been damaged or melted down during the Commonwealth. There was a demand for more exuberant objects in contrast to the somewhat austere plate, which typified the middle of the 17th century. Silversmiths of the day, both English and later the Huguenots who settled in England, having fled persecution in France and arrived in England via the Low Countries, were happy to meet this demand for objects in the latest continental fashions.

Among the unique forms which evolved during this renaissance of English silversmithing were garnitures of silver or silver-gilt vases, known in contemporary inventories as 'furnishing vases' and often referred to as ginger jars, after the Chinese or Dutch porcelain examples. Whilst the earliest example of a silver 'ginger jar' is dated 1658, the height of their fashion came during the 1670s and 1680s when elaborate garnitures, consisting typically of baluster and tapering examples in differing sizes were displayed on furniture, door cases and mantelpieces or on even wall sconces in the same manner as Chinese porcelain. As they were probably produced as special commissions many are unmarked, such as the examples here, although works by makers such as Jacob Bodendick (Christie's, London, 20 November 2001, lot 86) and Thomas Jenkins (Y. Hackenbroch, English and Other Silver in the Irwin Untermeyer Collection, no. 28) are known. The size of these garnitures, and subsequent cumulative weight, made them a ready target for melting down when they fell out of fashion in the 18th century. Indeed the garniture which was sold by the executors of the Earl of Home in 1919 consisted of some seven lots, together weighing over 800 oz. While some examples engraved with Chinoiserie decoration were produced in the late 1680s these garnitures fell out of fashion by the end of the 17th century. The limited period of production, as well as the ease with which they could be melted down explains their relative scarcity today.

Whilst the early provenance of the Earl of Home garnitures are not known there are several possibilities. One such patron is Alexander Home, 4th Earl of Home (d.1674) who married Anne Sackville, daughter of Richard Sackville, 5th Earl of Dorset. The connection to the Earl of Dorset is interesting as the Sackville family seat, Knole, Kent, contains an extraordinary garniture, not dissimilar to the present examples, which the Earl of Home and his wife may have sought to recreate at Home Castle. Another possibility is that the garniture entered the family in the 19th century with the marriage of Alexander, 10th Earl, to Elizabeth, second daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch. As Elizabeth was the granddaughter of the Earl and Countess of Cardigan the garniture could therefore have come through either the Cardigan or Buccleuch families, indeed a toilet service of circa 1680, engraved with the initials of Mary, Countess of Cardigan was included in the 1919 sale (Christie's London, 30 November 2006, lot 714). Important examples of restoration silver are also in the collection of the Dukes of Buccleuch (C. Oman, Caroline Silver 1625-1688, London, 1970, pl. 63A, 66, 83A and 83B).

The vases from the fourteen piece Earl of Home garniture were sold as seven lots in the sale on 17 June 1919. None seem to have appeared at auction since 1970, apart from the present lot and at least one pair of beakers have entered a museum collection. The literature and provenance for each lot from the 1919 sale, where known, is listed below.

Lot 27 (£280 to Harman)
A Pair of Charles II Oviform Vases, unmarked, 198 oz. 8 dwt, 17 in. high.
The collection of Sir Ernest Joseph Cassel (1852-1921).
London, 25 Park Lane Exhibition, 1929, no. 220, loaned by Lady Louis Mountbatten and the Executors of the late Sir Ernest Cassel.

Lot 28 (£90 to Crichton)
A Pair of Beakers, by Thomas Issod [sic], 166 oz. 10 dwt., 171/2 in. high.
Earl of Harewood; Christie's London, 30 June 1965, lot 113.
Judge Irwin Untermeyer, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
C. Oman, op. cit., no. 79
M. Clayton, The Collectors Dictionary of the Silver and Gold of Great Britain and North America, Woodbridge, pl. 707
Y. Hackenbroch, op. cit., no. 58.

Lot 29 (£90 to Crichton).
A Beaker, unmarked, 78 oz. 3 dwt., 181/2 in. high.
The Earl of Harewood; Christie's London, 30 June 1965, lot 114.
M. Clayton, op. cit., pl. 707.

Lot 30 (£100 to Harman).
A Pair of Charles II Oviform Vases and Cover, unmarked, 123 oz. 3 dwt. 141/2 in. high.

Lot 31 (£120 to Harman).
A Set of Three Charles II Oviform Vases and Covers, unmarked, 157 oz. 16 dwt., 15 in and 11 in. high.
The present lot.

Lot 32 (£190 to Harman).
A Pair of Pear-Shaped Bottles and Covers, unmarked, 57 oz. 14 dwt, 121/2 in. high.
The collection of Sir Ernest Cassel (1852-1921).
Bequeathed by him to Mr. and Mrs. Winston Churchill.
The Rt. Hon. Lady Spencer Churchill, GBE, Christie's London, 25 Feb 1970, lot 135.
London, 25 Park Lane Exhibition, 1929, no. 756, loaned by Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill.

Lot 33 (£60 S.J. Phillips).
A pair of Charles II Beakers, 55 oz. 17 dwt., 12 in.
Sotheby's London, 22 November 1951, lot 123.
London, 25 Park Lane Exhibition, 1929, no. 269, loaned by Mrs. David Gubbay.

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