George IV Sterling Covered Tankard, James Craddock, William Ker Reid, London, 1821/22
This unique tankard is simply magnificent. It is undoubtedly one of the heaviest examples we have ever had. This large drinking vessel has a hinged cover with a bold thumbpiece. The dome is covered with leaves with a wonderful cast boar's head. Engraved on both sides of the cover is the motto "follow me." The pear-shaped body is flat chased with the background resembling a tartan.
Applied on the front is an amazing 3-dimensional scene of a figure holding a tankard in celebratory traditional Scottish attire. He is surrounded by an applied flowering rose on the left and a flowering thistle on the right. A ribbon underneath this scene reads 'FOR AULD LANG SYNE.' Underneath this is engraved 'TL to JAC/ 1821, and on the side is a later engraved 'CEC to PFL/ May/ 1901.'
The boar's head crest and "Follow Me" motto belong to the Campbell clan, specifically the Breadalbane branch. Likewise, the background tartan is that of the Breadalbane branch of the Campbell family (see here).
The Breadalbane branch was led by the Earls and later, the Marquises of Breadalbane, whose seat was Taymouth Castle in Perthshire. This noble family's lands were so extensive it was said one could walk from the east coast to the west coast of Scotland without leaving their land.
John Campbell (1796-1862), later the 2nd Marquis of Breadalbane, married Eliza Baillie on November 23, 1821. He is almost certainly the "JAC" referenced in the 1821 inscription. The tankard was likely a wedding gift from a very wealthy friend, remembering and celebrating good times together. Its noble origins are supported by its exceptional weight and condition.
The second Marquis was a politician and personal friend of Queen Victoria who stayed at Taymouth on her first Scottish tour. He was also an early silver collector and would have appreciated the exceptional quality of this unique piece.
This beautiful tankard is marked on the cover's bezel and underneath the body. It measures 7.5 inches across the handle by 9 inches tall, weighs a very impressive 50.10 troy ounces, and is in excellent antique condition.
You may also like
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Sign up to get the latest updates and current musings in our occasional newsletter…