Diameter: 41.200 cm
Room 46: Europe 1400-1800
Pewter charger with the arms of England
England, around AD 1661
'Long Live Charles II of Blessed Peace'
Around the broad rim of this large pewter dish runs a band of acorns and oak leaves engraved with the inscription 'Vivat Rex Carolus Secundus. Beati Pacifici' ('Long Live Charles II of Blessed Peace') and the date 1661. The central well is engraved with the royal Stuart arms. Much of the decoration in England of the 1660s is commemorative and patriotic, associated with the Restoration of the monarchy under King Charles II in 1660. This charger commemorates Charles II's coronation in 1661.
Pewter is an alloy, a mixture of different metals, of which the main component is tin. To this is added various proportions of copper, lead, bismuth, antimony and other metals. Cornwall was one of the principal sources of tin in the Middle Ages, and English pewter had an international reputation for high quality. Pewter was used principally for useful domestic items such as candlesticks, flagons, cups, dishes and plates. But it was also used for 'display' wares such as large dishes, or chargers, that were set out on the buffet and never used. By the second half of the sixteenth century pewter was not only in common use in the houses of the wealthy, but was also found in more modest households.
The dish is decorated with 'wriggle work'. A flat bladed tool is 'walked' from point to point over the surface to produce an incised zig-zag design.
A.R.E. North, Pewter (London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1999)
R.F. Homer, 'Pewter in the British Museum', The Journal of the Pewter Soci, 6: 4 (1988), pp. 118-28