The identity of the goldsmith with the so-called 'hound sejant' maker's mark remains a mystery, yet he is acknowledged as one of the finest mid-seventeenth century craftsmen. The mark, which probably represents a heraldic device, is found on numerous ecclesiastical and secular commissions from 1646-66. The hound sejant catered to wealthy, largely Royalist, patrons and the two-handled cup form for which he is particulary known, is admired for exceptional quality, elegant silhouette and great weight. Most of his work, like this cup, is rarely found with a full set of hallmarks.
Two-handled cups were a popular form of presentation plate and several examples of this maker's work, including two gold cups, are extant. A closely related example, circa 1650, with cast caryatid handles is in the collection of the Kimball Art Museum, Fort Worth and is illustrated in Vanessa Brett, The Sotheby's Directory of Silver, 1986, no. 411. A silver-gilt six-lobed cup with matted surface dating to circa 1650 is illustrated in Ellenor Alcorn, English Silver in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1993, no 43, pp.114-15.
Twelve sided cups by this maker are also known. A silver-gilt example dating to 1649 and now in the collection of Colonial Williamsburg features cast caryatid hadles which are very similar to the present lot. A second heavily restored twelve sided silver cup dating to 1652 is found in the collection of Temple Newsam (see John B. Davis, English Silver at Williamsburg, 1976, illus. no. 44, pp. 54-56 and British Silver at Temple Newsam and Lotherton Hall: A Catalogue of the Leeds Collection, 1992, illus. no. 34, pp. 51-52).