Silver plaquette depicting William Lenthall, marked CF and made c.1653, £7500 at Bonhams.

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He continued in the role under Cromwell’s Protectorate and remained when the Long Parliament was restored in 1659

On January 4, 1642, when Charles I entered the House of Commons to arrest five MPs for treason, he famously refused to reveal their whereabouts saying: “May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here.”

This 3½in (9cm) silver plaquette, marked CF and made c.1653, has an extensive provenance that includes several famous Victorian numismatic collections. Last sold by Spink & Son in 1910, it was purchased by Vernon James Watney (1860-1928) of Watney Brewery fame and comes by descent.

The estimate at Bonhams’ (28/27/21/14.5% buyer’s premium) Fine Decorative Arts auction at New Bond Street on July 12 was £3000-5000 and it brought £7500.

Lion or devil

Intriguingly the plaque, which was probably made in the Low Countries, can be read in two different ways.

It is either simply a celebration of Lenthall’s achievements or alternatively, an overt criticism of his character. On close examination the lion’s mask on his arm resembles the face of the devil – a reference perhaps to Lenthall’s tendency to switch political allegiance depending on who was in power.

Secular survivor


James I wine cup with the mark of Anthony Bennett, £14,000 at Bonhams.

English secular hollowares from before the English Civil War are notoriously rare. Not much escaped the need for bullion to pay the armies.

A fine example offered here was a James I wine cup with the mark of Anthony Bennett (London 1605). He was known for making steeple cups, standing cups and wine cups, in particular.

This cup, a once common type with gadrooned, fluted and chased decoration against a punched ground, has the prick-dot initials RD over V.

Illustrated in both Peter Waldron’s The Antique Price Guide to Antique Silver (1982) and David Mitchell’s Silversmiths in Elizabethan and Stuart London (2017), it was sold together with a facsimile goblet made by Tessiers in 1973. Estimated at £10,000-15,000, they took £14,000.