Lot 5
  • 5

A Portuguese silver-gilt salver on foot, maker's mark IE, probably Portugese, early 16th century, the rim circa 1600

70,000 - 90,000 GBP
277,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • silver
embossed and chased with Old Testament scenes interrupted by stylized fountains, central armorial-engraved roundel,  low foot with wire rim incorporating dolphins, later pinned with raised sides of cherubs and fruit below openwork architectural rim



Probably Juan de Santiago y leon Garabito, (1641-1694)
Probably Dom Fernando II (1816-1885) King of Portugal
A European princely family

Catalogue Note

The arms are those of a bishop from the family of León Garabito, probably for Juan de Santiago y León Garabito, bishop of Guadalajara, Mexico (1641-1694), ordained in September 1677.

The salver may be the one exhibited in Exposição Retrospectiva de Arte Ornamental Portugueza e Hespanhola, Lisbon, 1882, no. 122 belonging to Sua Magestade El-Rei o Senhor D. Fernando, as Fructeiro de prata dourada com muitas fuguras e outros ornatos em relevo. No centro um medalhão com brazão de um prelado. Obra portugueza. Secolo XVI

The raised side with cherubs and lace-like rim made in one piece, has been pinned to a late gothic salver.  The latter conforms in decoration and layout to known Portuguese salvers of the early 16th Century. An example which was presented at the 1954 exhibition in Paris1 embodies these characteristics; size, around 25-30 cm in diameter, inner and outer plain bands with ropework borders, two bands of dense story-telling ornament, architecture seen from above and a low ornamented foot with fat wire rim. The distinct embossed gothic foliage of the present salver can be found on a number of 16th Century Portuguese pieces including another salver on foot with Lisbon marks, sold Sotheby's, Paris, 30 October 2008, lot 180. The broad spiky rim including the border of cherubs probably dates to around 1600.  A dish with late 16th Century Lisbon marks which has a similar architectural rim is in the Museo Lázaro Galdiano Madrid2. The outer rim of the salver is decorated with six Old Testament scenes embossed in expressive detail.   1. The Temptation (Genesis 3, vv.1-7): Eve holds up the fruit while Adam touches his chin:  2. The Expulsion (Genesis 3, vv.12 and 13):  Adam and Eve's hands graphically express their words to the Lord `she gave me of the tree and I did eat' and `The serpent beguiled me and I did eat'; 3. Unidentified scene of a man and woman beating a soldier or knight, a distraught woman attends: The knight on the ground is in elaborate armour, dateable to between 1490 and 1520, while the garment visible at his neckline is typical of the 16th Century. The naked woman wields a jawbone, which although an attribute of Samson and Cain, is here probably just a simple weapon in contrast to the elaborate armour. 4. Samson kills the lion (Judges 15 v. 6):  The jawbone which Samson uses later in the story to slaughter the Philistines is already visible in his pocket. He has a `fillet' round his impressive head of hair, a fashion of young men in the mid to late 16th Century3; 5.  Jacob wrestles with the angel (Genesis 32, vv.24-32): The angel and Jacob are visualized as twins reflecting Jacob's twin brother Esau, with whom he was already competing at birth (`and his hand took hold on Esau's heel' (25, v26), and who he is about to meet again after an absence twenty years. The scene records the moment when the angel touches the hollow of Jacob's  thigh.  6. Unidentified scene, possibly Daniel's vision of the Heavenly Kingdom: A king in archaic costume sits on his throne lifted by four griffins, possibly referring to the four kings who Daniel served; the four kingdoms which the visions told would eventually be replaced `And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed (Daniel 3, v.44).

1 Les Trésors de L'Orfèvrerie du Portugal, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, November 1954-January 1955, cat 43


2 José Manuel Cruz Valdovinos, Platería Europea en Espanňa, Fundación Central Hispano, 1997, no. 49


3 Maria Jedding-Gesterling ed. Hairstyles, Hamburg, 1988, p. 62 and 64