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A PAIR OF GEORGE III SHEFFIELD-PLATED JOLLY BOATS
A PAIR OF GEORGE III SHEFFIELD-PLATED JOLLY BOATS

CIRCA 1820

Details
A PAIR OF GEORGE III SHEFFIELD-PLATED JOLLY BOATS
Circa 1820
Each boat-form, with three circular wells for bottles and four wells to hold bottle-stoppers, the rails with oar-locks, and the stern engraved with a Marquess' armorials, the wood bases covered with baize, apparently unmarked
18 in. (45.72 cm.)long (2)
Provenance
S.J. Shrubsole

Lot Essay

The arms are those of Francis Rawdon-Hastings, Earl of Moira, created Marquess of Hastings on February 13, 1817. He entered the Army in 1771 and fought in the American Revolution under Cornwallis. He was wounded in the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. From 1813 through 1822 he served as Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of the Forces of India, defeating Nepal in 1816 and crushing the Pindarees (freebooters) in 1817. The East India Company awarded him [L] 60,000 for his service in 1819. A friend and confidant of the Prince Regent, Hastings had a distinguished political career.

The Dictionary of National Biography records that "in consequence of his habitual extravagance, Hastings left his family badly off, and in 1827 the East India Company voted a further sum of [L] 20,000 for the benefit of his son." Wraxall described him as "the Timon of the present age, whose chivalrous spirit, impelled by a magnificent temper, has completely exhausted a splendid fortune." Lady Bessborough chose to comment on his appearance: "if Lord Moira would shave off the black whiskers that grow just under his eyes and almost across his nose he would be quite handsome." His death in 1826 is marked by a bizarre act of devotion to his wife. The Complete Peerage records that his right hand was preserved and later buried with his widow, who died in 1840.

Wine coasters shaped as small boats derived their name from the small craft kept on board larger vessels for recreation. Bernard Hughes suggested that jolly-boat coasters evolved from a multi-purpose model ship designed by silversmith John Anderson, shortly after the Battle of Trafalgar (see G.B. Hughes, "Old English Wine-Coasters," Country Life, 119, May 10, 1956, p. 1006).

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