Silver-gilt ewer and basin by Pierre Harrache

London, England, AD 1697

The arms of William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Devonshire (1640-1707)

The helmet-shaped ewer was one of the new forms introduced into England by Huguenot silversmiths at the end of the seventeenth century. The boldly sculpted handle and the 'cut-card' or pierced decoration applied to a plain surface makes this one of the earliest and finest examples to be made in England. The cast, gadrooned border with shells and pendant husks on the basin are also typical of the Huguenot style, and were used by Harrache on a number of pieces. Harrache (died 1700), thought to be from Rouen, was the first Huguenot goldsmith to be admitted into the Goldsmith's Company in 1682, suggesting he was clearly a man of some importance and assets.

The basin was engraved by Blaise Gentot (born 1658). Gentot was another French-born immigrant working in London, specializing in all manner of engraving. He was extremely skilled, and developed a distinctive style; a bracket upon which the arms or supporters rest and the use of berried laurel leaves are trademarks of his work.

The engraving of coats of arms was normally carried out after the piece was finished and hallmarked, and therefore does not always reflect the exact date of manufacture of the piece.

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More information


H. Tait, 'Huguenot silver made in London: The Peter Wilding Bequest to the British Museum, Part I', Connoisseur (August 1972), pp. 268-69

T. Murdoch (ed.), The quiet conquest: the Huguen, exh. cat. (London, 1985)

A. Grimwade, 'The Master of George Vertue', Apollo-4 (February 1988), pp. 83-89

C. Hartop, The Huguenot legacy: English s (London, Thomas Heneage, 1996)


Height: 30.500 cm
Width: 24.900 cm
Diameter: 65.500 cm

Museum number

M&ME 1969,7-5,28.a, b


Bequeathed by Peter Wilding


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