An earl's coronet sits above the coat of arms in the center of this octagonal silver basket. The borders are extensively pierced and much of the fine patterning has been hammered into relief from the back of the silver—a technique known as repoussé. The basket was probably not intended to be used; it is more likely to have been placed on display where its elaborate decoration would attract admiration and compliments.


Ralph Montagu, first duke of Montagu; by descent to Lord Montagu of Beaulieu¹ with Hinton House, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, by 1962;² Whitaker family, sale Christie's, London, 15 June 1983, lot 233; with How of Edinburgh, London; sold to Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, May 1987.

1. Beaulieu was inherited by Ralph Montagu through his marriage to Elizabeth Wriothesley (see Murdoch, ed. Boughton House, p. 186) . It is very likely, therefore, that the basket descended in the family, although it could possibly have been acquired by Walter Francis, fifth duke of Buccleuch (1806-1884), who purchased many examples of antique plate (see Murdoch, pp. 153, 156-157). The first Lord Montagu of Beaulieu was the second son of the fifth duke of Buccleuch. John Cornforth has suggested that the basket may have come to Lord Montagu of Beaulieu from Ditton Park, the Montagu house near Windsor.
2. When the basket was exhibited at the C.I.N.O.A. exhibition held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2 March–29 April 1962, it was exhibited by Hinton House.

George Lewis

British, free 1699


c. 1700


3 1/4 x 13 3/4 x 13 3/4 in. (8.3 x 34.9 x 34.9 cm) Troy weight: 35.95 toz (1118.1 g)

Acquired by the Clark, 1987