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Iznik ewer, with English silver-gilt mounts


Height: 33.200 cm

Bequeathed by A.W. Franks

M&ME Silver catalogue 23

Room 46: Europe 1400-1800

    Iznik ewer, with English silver-gilt mounts

    From modern Turkey, Iznik, second half sixteenth century AD (tankard)
    London, England, AD 1597-98 ( silver-gilt mounts)

    A fashionable mounted vessel

    This tin-glazed earthenware tankard has been transformed into a ewer by the application of a silver-gilt spout, with hinged lid and foot rim. There was a fashion for mounted ceramic vessels throughout Europe in the sixteenth century, though it was especially popular in Tudor England. The rarest and most costly vessels were of Chinese porcelain in gold or silver-gilt mounts. Also unusual at this time were vessels made of tin-glazed earthenware produced in Iznik (ancient Nicea) in modern Turkey, which were generally mounted in silver gilt. These retained a very strong sense of the grand and the 'exotic', and appealed to a sophisticated social group.

    The silver gilt mounts bear the maker's mark 'IH'. Two other Iznikware vessels with London mounts bearing the maker's mark 'IH' are known, dating to 1586/7 and to 1592/3.

    The traditional palette of the second half of the sixteenth century consists of a turquoise blue, green and a tomato red, which is here used to great effect with stylized floral motifs and arabesques. The red palette has traditionally been associated with the false notion that these wares were produced on the island of Rhodes, and in the nineteenth century these were often referred to as 'Rhodian' ware.

    C.H. Read. and A.B. Tonnochy, Catalogue of the silver plate, (London, Trustees of the British Museum, 1928)

    P. Glanville, Silver in Tudor and Early Stua (London, 1990)


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