‘PRESENTATION TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR. – His Excellency Charles Du Cane, Esq., has just received from England a magnificent silver cup, being part of a testimonial presented to him by his late constituents of North Essex. . . . We had an opportunity yesterday of inspecting the cup at Government House. It is a most elegant and massive pieced of plate, weighing probably about 250 ounces, and it stands about 3 ft. 6 in. high. It is of Italian manufacture, and evidently very old workmanship, although it would difficult in the absence of proper references to fix the probably period. The design is classic and exceedingly chaste, and is evidently intended to work out a particular story, but no description has been forwarded with it. The base of the pedestal is of silver richly gilt, and surrounded by an elaborate silver fret work, divided by curious masks, beautifully moulded in gild silver. Above this are a series of silver medallions in relief, representing incidents of the chase, and these are set on a richly worked ground of gilt silver. Next comes a square pedestal of the same metal of beautiful design, and from this springs the trunk of a tree presented in gilt silver, beside which is posed a figure of Actæon, the patron of hunting, who, as our classical readers are aware, was turned into a Hart by Diana, and afterwards pursued and devoured by his own dogs. The figure is represented with the legs, hoofs and horns, of the Hart and on his head is borne the cup, a most elaborate piece of workmanship, very skillfully designed; on the base, bowl and lid of which are a series of twelve silver reliefs representing incidents of the chase, and between these on a richly embossed ground-work, are grotesque representations of mermaids, and other mythological creations, all executed in gilt-silver in full relief. Surmounting the hole is a colossal figure of Diana, the Goddess of the chase, in silver and silver-git. The figure is in accordance with the most approved representations, being gracefully posed, the right hand in the act of withdrawing an arrow from the quiver hanging at her shoulders, while in the left she holds a gentle hind by a golden chain. The whole design is extremely beautiful, and we may safely say that such a piece of plate has seldom been seen at this end of the world. Around the gilt lip of the cup is the inscription, engraved in old England characters: ‘’Presented to Charles Du Cane, Esq., M.P. for North Essex, by his constituents and friends, on his appointment as Governor Tasmania. October, 1868.’’’ (The Mercury, Hobart Town, Tasmania, Wednesday, 26 May 1869, p. 2d)
The author of the marks found on the present lot, the B and anchor maker, remains unknown. He was clearly working to fill the demand for old silver that already existed in the 18th and continued in the 19th century. The 1976 Sotheby's cataloguer wrote that W.H Singer in The Art Journal of 1880, pp. 313/314, records 'it is curious that at the present time Germany is the country where are produced nearly all the forgeries of old silver work, such as ewers and hanaps (Old French for a cup) with which the London shops and salerooms are filled...'. The exhibition Macht & Pracht, Europas Glanz im 19. Jahrhundert, 2006, p. 264, dedicated to German 19th century decorative arts in the style of earlier periods, includes a table centre piece with candle branches which included an N 'hallmark' by the B and anchor maker and ascribes the mark to the firm of Neresheimer of Hanau, where a number of manufacturers used marks of their own invention. It is thought that this may be an incorrect attribution as the B and anchor maker is believed to be working considerably earlier in the 19th century than the firm of Neresheimer, nor is the B and anchor mark recorded by Dr. Scheffler as one used by the firm of Neresheimer (Macht und Pracht p. 264, and Wolfgang Scheffler, Goldschmiede Hessens, Berlin, 1976, no. 468)
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