K913

George McHattie (possibly) Scottish Sterling Traveling Jug with Ivory Handle, Edinburgh, c. 1808


This wonderful and rare jug was made in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1808. Of tapering cylindrical form, it features a detachable ivory handle. The unhinged, removable lid has a classical ball finial. The spout, set at a 90 degree angle to the handle shows French design influence. It measures just under 4 inches high, 2.25 inches in diameter at the base and is in very good condition. It is engraved with the motto and crest of Brougham. (See below.) Although the mark is unregistered, silversmith George McHattie started advertising in city directories in 1806 and we feel confident that this is his mark.

This form is extremely rare. One is in the collection of Colonial Williamsburg and another at the Clark Institute in Williamstown, MA. Beth Carver Wees, in her outstanding catalog of that collection, English, Irish & Scottish Silver, hedges about the precise use for the jug, except to speculate that it was used while traveling because of the detachable handle. More than likely it was for hot milk or cream (possibly a toddy nightcap?), the ivory handle to insulate the heat. All known examples date from this period and are fairly simple, indicating a utilitarian, even personal use.

Henry Peter Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux, was an important reformer, lawyer and Whig politician during the early 19th century. Born in St. Andrew's Square, Edinburgh, Sept. 19, 1778, he was practicing law in Scotland by the age of 21. In 1802 he helped found The Edinburgh Review . In 1803, he authored The Colonial Policy of European Powers which established him as a leading abolitionist and reformer. Over the next four decades; he served as a Member of Parliament; wrote, sponsored and inspired legislation reforming the British judicial and penal systems; served as Attorney General to Her Royal Highness Princess (later Queen) Charlotte; played an instrumental role in the founding the University of London (the first public university), etc., etc. He was elevated to the peerage as a Baron in 1830.

Most importantly, for our purposes, he was called to serve on the English Bar in 1808, the same year this jug was made. Travel would become an integral part of his life...and this jug traveled with him.
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