Capell was married in 1659 to Dorothy (1642?-1721), daughter and coheir of Richard Bennet of Kew Green, Surrey and granddaughter of the wealthy City merchant and mercer, Sir Thomas Bennet (1543-1627), Lord Mayor of London in 1603-04. In August 1678, John Evelyn visited Capell at Kew, the estate inherited from his father-in-law, which was later enlarged to become Kew Gardens. The diarist recorded that, ‘it is an old timber house, but his garden has the choicest fruit of any plantation in England, as he is the most industrious and understanding in it.’ Again in 1691, Evelyn observed, ‘Capell’s garden at Kew has as curious [ever]greens, and is as well kept as any about London . . .’ In fact, both Capell and his brother, Arthur, 1st Earl of Essex (1631-1683) were renowned gardeners.
For information on the attribution of the makers’ marks, see David M. Mitchell, Silversmiths in Elizabethan and Stuart London, London, 2017, pp. 336-337 (Welch) and pp. 440-401 (Spackman). The badly struck mark, HW, an escallop below, on the underside of the porringer appears to be a variant of the example illustrated by Dr. Mitchell from a pair of triform candlesticks, circa 1665-70, in the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University.
In addition to this porringer, cover and stand or salver on foot, J. Pierpont Morgan’s collection also included a similar group of silver-gilt porringer, cover and stand. This second porringer bears the maker’s mark IS, a pellet between and rosette below (John Spackman) and the London hallmarks for 1684. Its contemporary, unmarked companion stand or salver on foot is chased with a very similar broad border of dense acanthus leaves as on the stand in this present lot. (E. Alfred Jones, Illustrated Catalogue of the Collection of Old Plate of J. Pierpont Morgan, Esquire, London, 1908, p. 28, pl. XXIV)
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