Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday 2 November 2023

Sixteenth century silver ewer and basin to go on display

A rare surviving example of a late sixteenth century London made silver ewer and basin for hand washing before eating has been accepted in lieu of inheritance tax from the Earl of Dalhousie and will go on display at the National Museum in Edinburgh. 

Few pieces of this type have survived and this set, known as the Panmure from the first Lord Pamure who acquired it in the early nineteenth century, it appears to be a fine example of these items which would have graced royal and noble households. It is dated to 1586 or 1587 and is believed to be the work of the Dutch immigrant Harnan Copleman. It is of high quality in its design and detail. Changes in fashion and the impact of the Civil War meant that most were melted down. Because we rarely see such items we forget they once existed. I remember seeing some thirty odd years ago at one of the great London auction houses an exhibition of such grand and impressive tableware in silver gilt that dated from the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries that had been sold by King Charles I and had come into the collection of the Tsars of Muscovy and survives in the Kremlin. These were very dramatic pieces in the tradition of the slightly later Exeter Salt in the Crown Jewels, with heraldic lions in silver gilt as flagons and other grandiose pieces.

The ewer and basin are illustrated and discussed in an online article from stv.tv which can be seen from stv.tv at Rare silver 16th century basin and ewer to go on display at National Museum

The Daily Record has a very similar, if not identical, article at Rare 16th century basin and ewer to go on display at National Museum of Scotland

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