The city was much admired for the quality of its output – some of it on par with that produced in London and York – but today perhaps only 200 pieces of Norwich secular silver survive.
This rare spoon shown above, with a lion sejant terminal, has Norwich marks for 1636 and the unascribed maker’s mark of SI or IS. An old collection label reads 1636 Norwich by John Stone.
Described in the 1935 Sotheby’s catalogue of the Ellis collection of spoons as ‘at present, the only known lion sejant that can definitely be ascribed to Norwich’, it is also illustrated in the first volume of George How’s English and Scottish Silver Spoons (1952).
It came for sale from a private collection, for the first time in generations, at Woolley & Wallis (25% buyer’s premium) in Salisbury on July 22. Pitched at £5000-7000, it took £18,000.
The sale included items from the trustees of Exbury House, the Rothschilds estate on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire.
The best of these was a 12in (30cm) Dutch green glass ‘shaft and globe’ type wine bottle with pierced and embossed foliate mounts marked for The Hague silversmith Hans Brechtal and the date letter 1664. The silver-mounted cork stopper is embossed with a reclining cherub.
Acquired by Alfred de Rothschild (1842-1918), it appeared in a 1918 valuation schedule at Exbury, catalogued simply as ‘a green glass decanter with silver mounts’.
A similar piece can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York while two very similar bottles, carrying marks for The Hague and Adriaen Van Hoecke, c.1665, were sold to a London dealer at Hannam’s auction in Hampshire for a surprise £30,000 in January 2019.
This single bottle, estimated at £1000-2000, took £36,000.