This ewer and its companion flanked Farrell's massive monteith bowl made for the Duke of York in 1820. All three pieces have superb relief decoration with identical battle scenes including an equestrian soldier described as Alexander in the Duke of York's sale catalogue of 1827. The three pieces, together with a ladle for the monteith, were consecutive lots in the catalogue, where the ewers are called praefericula.
MASSIVE SILVER-GILT PLATE
Lot 73 A PRAEFERICULUM, the lip formed of the stem of a vine with fruit, the handle, a terminal recurved: round the bowl of the vessel is represented one of the battles of Alexander, in superb chasing; the stem and foot formed of very rich chasing and scroll work. 13½ inches high, to the top of the handle
weight 87oz. 5dwt
Lot 74 A DITTO, the Companion, weight 81 oz
The ewer eventually passed into the collection of Angela Burdett-Coutts, heir and step-grandaughter to Harriet Mellon Coutts, Duchess of St. Albans. With her great inherited wealth, Angela Burdett-Coutts became an art collector and philanthropist, and Queen Victoria created her a Baroness in her own right in 1871.
This ewer is one of at least seven similar examples by Holland, all hallmarked for the year 1807 and each with an identical, very distinctive handle formed as a male caryatid with floral wreaths around his head and waist.
CAPTION: George IV silver-gilt monteith, mark of Edward Farrell, London, 1820. The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection, courtesy of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art