An exceptional model, this wonderful jug features classical ornamental banding of intermittent shell and lotus bud design above a lower body of boldly repousséd acanthus leaves. Fine lobing decorates the section above the banding and also the pedestal foot. The plain neck is embellished with cast and applied leaf banding with a large acanthus leaf under the spout. An attached lid is beautifully shaped and also decorated with boldly cast foliate decoration and an acanthus flower finial. The original carved wood handle with silver mounts is exceptional. It is in the form of a serpent with a split tail on one end and terminates at the top of the neck with the head of the serpent among a backdrop of spread wings. This Egyptian-influenced design is a striking representation of power.
While this form is referred to today as a 'hot water jug', when first introduced c. 1750 it was referred to in inventories as a 'Turkey coffee pott'.(1) Clearly these pieces were multifunctional and were used for coffee as well as topping off strong tea.
Robert Garrard (II) succeeded his father of the same name in 1818 and was one of the most important silversmiths of his era. Tracing the firms roots back to 1721, they had served as the silversmith to several members of the royal family. Ultimately becoming the crown jeweler in 1843, they were one of the most significant 19th century silversmithing firms in the world and their silver graced the tables and palaces of many European noble families.
On one side of the neck is the wonderfully engraved coat of arms of Baring quartering Herring and Sealy as borne by Sir Francis-Thornhill Baring, 3rd Baronet and first Baron Northbrook before inheriting and earning his titles. The Baron's coronet was added at the time of his elevation. His London residence was at 21 Devonshire Place and his country seat was Stratton Park, Micheldever, just north of Winchester.
Lord Northbrook was the great grandson of John Baring, founder of Barings Bank, and the creator of 'merchant banking' - giving credit to the 'yankee traders' of the 18th century. Barings Bank was so important and influential that it helped finance the United States purchase of the 'Louisiana Purchase' from France in 1802, while Britain was at war with France! This is the same Barings Bank that was the personal bank of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and brought down by 'rogue trader' Nick Leeson in 1995. (For more information see: here.)
Northbrook was an important Victorian politician. After a double first major at Christ Church, Oxford, he entered the bar in 1823 (the date of this piece), served as a Member of Parliament from 1826-65, Lord of the Treasury (1830-34), Secretary to the Treasury (1834-39), Chancellor of the Exchequer (1839-41) and First Lord of the Admiralty (1849-52). He was elevated to the rank of Baron as 1st Baron Northbrook in 1866.
Stratton Park was an important country house on an estate of thousands of acres including the village of Micheldever and 'Micheldever Woods', reputedly 1000 acres the finest oak trees to be found in early 19th century England.
This classical regency mansion was designed by George Dance the Younger in 1803, with grounds by Henry Repton later updated by Gertrude Jekyll c. 1900 (see: here). Today, only the imposing Doric portico remains.
This rare sterling silver coffee jug is fully hallmarked on the neck and the cover is marked with the maker's mark, 'g' year mark and lion passant. It measures 9 inches high to the top of the handle, weighs 33.85 troy ounces and is in very good antique condition with light wear to the highlights and expert restoration to the original fruitwood handle.
- Michael Clayton, A Collectors Dictionary of the Silver and Gold of Great Britain and North America, (New York: World Publishing Group Limited, 1971), p. 171.