Charles II lignum vitae wassail bowl with silver mount, £28,000 at Woolley & Wallis.

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The ancient word ‘wassail’ meaning ‘good health’ was exchanged as a bowl of mulled ale was passed round the table for guests to share.

The bowl had become, by the Stuart period, a significant status symbol and grew greatly in size during the 17th century, thanks to the adoption of the Caribbean hardwood lignum vitae for turning c.1660.

Given its remarkable durability, the timber was ideal for making large drinking vessels, especially as its resin was also considered to have healing properties (the name means ‘tree of life’ in Latin).

The pinnacle in this production were the large bowls made in the Restoration era, such as the example offered at Woolley & Wallis (26% buyer’s premium) on October 4-5.

The Salisbury firm has sold several Charles II examples in recent years including one that made £14,000 in 2017 (ATG No 2314).

The 11in (27cm) bowl pictured here did even better. Part of the Adler collection of around 50 lots of treen, it had been purchased from Davies Street, London, dealer Maria Baer. It includes a contemporary silver rim with the inscription Antony Rindo Exeter above an engraved border of foliate lobes.

Appealing to a wide range of collectors, it made £28,000 (estimate £3000-5000).