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Henry Green George III English Sterling Silver 'Hooped' Tankard, London, 1793/94

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Of slightly tapering cylindrical form, this wonderful pint- sized tankard features horizontal ribbing (hoops) on the body and lid. The cast and applied handle has an elegant pierced thumb piece on the hinge to the lid. It is a lovely example of the elegant classical silver popular during this period.

On each side it bears a finely engraved coat of arms. Oddly, these arms are not those of an individual but of institutions. One is the coat of arms of Westminster School, the famous public (prep.) school in Westminster, London, where some of Britain's finest politicians have gone to school. On the other side is engraved the coat of arms of Eton College.

Founded by King Henry VI in 1440, Eton is the most elite of the English 'public' schools. (Prince William went there.) Located in Windsor, it lies in the shadow of Windsor Castle.

It is difficult to know who owned this tankard. Eton college records indicate several boys attended Westminster and then Eton before going on to Oxford or Cambridge during the second half of the 18th century. However, one stands out.

Charles Edmonstone (later 2nd Baronet) of Duntreath, County Sterling (Scotland) attended Westminster School from 1772-75, then Eton College from 1775-80. Graduating from Christ Church, Oxford, with a BA in 1780, Edmonstone became a lawyer; he served as a clerk of the chancery from 1797-1804 and as a Member of Parliament from 1806-21. He married in 1794 (the year of the tankard) and most interestingly served as steward of the Eton anniversary in 1805. Clearly, Edmonstone was proud of his schooling and seems the most likely candidate to have owned this tankard. Perhaps this was a wedding gift from former classmates.

Edmonstone is an ancient Scottish family, having fought at the battle of Culloden and married members of the royal house of Stewart. Duntreath castle, still in the family today, is their ancestral home.

This wonderful tankard is fully marked along the rim near the handle. The lid is correctly marked with the lion passant, date make and maker's mark. The tankard measures 5.9 inches high (including the thumb rest) and 5.25 inches wide across the handle. It weighs 13.25 troy ounces and is in very good/ excellent antique condition.