A late 17th century parcel-gilt silver cagework cup and cover, unmarked, attributable to the workshop of Jacob Bodendick, of London, circa 1660
A late 17th century parcel-gilt silver cagework cup and cover, unmarked, attributable to the workshop of Jacob Bodendick, of London, circa 1660

Details & Cataloguing

Style: European Silver, Ceramics, and Objects of Vertu


A late 17th century parcel-gilt silver cagework cup and cover, unmarked, attributable to the workshop of Jacob Bodendick, of London, circa 1660
on three ball feet, the cylindrical body decorated with a detachable white silver sleeve richly pierced and chased with a profusion of flowers and foliage enclosing on one side an exotic bird and on the other a peacock, applied cast handles, the detachable domed cover similarly mounted in white silver pierced and chased with flowers, silver-gilt cast 'bee and blossom' pattern finial surrounded by white silver petals, the underside later engraved with two crests
20cm., 7 7/8in. high
1398gr., 44oz. 18dwt.
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The two crests on the underside of this cup (probably engraved during the second quarter of the 19th century) are both for Toke of Godinton, Kent.1 According to family tradition, recorded in Sotheby’s catalogue of 2 November 1950 (lot 116), this cup ‘belonged to the 1st Lord Howth from whom it descended to his granddaughter Emma Leslie, an ancestor of [the] owner,’ Mr. Nicholas Eyare Toke (1866-1960). In fact, Miss Leslie (1812-1878) was Mr. Toke’s paternal grandmother, having married the Rev. Nicholas Toke (1799-1866) in 1837. The ‘1st Lord Howth’ referred to in the 1950 catalogue was most probably Thomas Lawrence, 1st Earl Howth (1730-1801), Emma Toke’s great-grandfather.

As the cup was an old St. Lawrence/Howth family piece, it was probably acquired at or soon after the birth of Thomas St. Lawrence (1659-1727), son and heir of William St. Lawrence, 12th Baron Howth (1628?-1671). In 1661 the latter took his seat in the Irish House of Lord and was also appointed Custos Rotulorum (i.e. Keeper of the Rolls or records) of co. Dublin. He was a staunch royalist who used his political influence in support of the restoration of Charles II to whom he was recommended by James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde as a possible military commander.

Catalogue Note

Caroline silver sleeve cups

While the floral and foliate decoration on late 17th century sleeve cups of this type was probably inspired by any number of prints then in circulation, the exotic bird on one side of this present cup and the peacock on the other can be confidently traced to details in two prints, numbered 1 and 3, published as part of an album about 1610 by Paul Göttich (1596-1622) of Augsburg. (see illustrations)

Several similar two-handled cups and covers to the present example are known, including at least three whose finials have identical parcel-gilt silver ‘bee and blossom’ pattern finials. One, bearing the maker’s mark only (IB, a mullet between, above a crescent between two pellets, ascribed to Jacob Bodendick), its sleeve pierced and embossed with flowering plants, musical cherubs and birds, was with Commander and Mrs. How in 19442 who compared it with another, similar cup from Lord Swaythling’s collection3 also by Bodendick and with the full London hallmarks for 1668. This cup was among the Swaythling Heirlooms sold in 1924 when its ‘removable silver outer covering’ was described as ‘embossed in high relief with a shepherd and shepherdess, dog, goat and Cupids’;4 its finial was also a cast ‘bee and blossom.’ The sleeve of the third cup, also with the mark ascribed to Bodendick, London, 1668, formerly in the Al-Tajir Collection, is embossed with birds and flowering plants.5

The ‘bee and blossom’ of these cups’ finials may well reflect their original function; it is well known that such vessels were used for braggot (a mixture of honey and malt), caudle or some other fortifying beverage commonly given to expectant or new mothers.

Jacob Bodendick

Jacob Bodendick (Bodendike, Bodenteich) was a name unknown to connoisseurs of 17th century London-made silver until 1970 when Charles Oman (1901-1982) first suggested that Bodendick’s maker’s mark was ‘IB above a crescent between two pellets’ (probably a mis-reading of maker’s mark IB, a mullet between, above a crescent between two pellets).6

An early, if not the very earliest reference by a writer on old silver to this maker’s mark was by Wilfred Cripps in 1878 when he recorded it respectively on a cup, hallmarked London, 1669 in ‘The Dutch Church, Austin Friars, London,’ and on a set of vases and beakers hallmarked London, 1674 from the collection of the Marquess of Breadalbane.7

The cup at the Dutch Church, Austin Friars to which Cripps referred is actually one of ‘a set of four fine, but very foreign-looking, covered beakers . . . by the Restoration goldsmith, IB, probably Jacob Bodendick, a goldsmith . . . who was responsible for some of the most glamorous secular plate to be found in England in the 1600s and 1670s.’8 These cups, as their inscriptions record, were given to the church in 1670 by one Jan Van Preren.9

Of the Breadalbane vases, Cripps writes: ‘being of the year 1674, may be mentioned a set of three large silver vases, and two tall beakers, given to [sic] Horace Walpole by the Lady Betty Germain, and sold at the Strawberry Hill sale. . . . They are of great size; the jars twenty inches high, and twelve inches in diameter, and the beakers fourteen inches high. They passed, through the hand of Messrs. Lambert, to the last Marquess of Breadalbane in 1857.’10 In fact, Walpole had purchased these impressive objects at the sale in March 1770 of the late Lady Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Germain (1680-1769).11 She, the second daughter of Charles Berkeley, 2nd Earl of Berkeley, was the widow of Sir John Germain, 1st Bt. (1650-1718) whom she had married as his second wife in 1706 and survived him by 50 years. Germain, a wealthy soldier of fortune, politician and gambler, is said to have been an illegitimate son of William II, Prince of Orange and as such he claimed to be a half-brother of William III of England whom he accompanied to London following the abdication of James II in 1688. Furthermore, Germain inherited a fortune, including Drayton House, Northamptonshire following the death in 1705 of his first wife, the daughter and heir of Henry Mordaunt, 2nd Earl of Peterborough (1621-1697), the English soldier and courtier who in July 1674 was appointed a member of the Privy Council.

The most comprehensive investigation into Bodendick’s life and work was undertaken by Eric J.G. Smith (1927-2009), the fruit of whose research was published in 2000 in The Silver Society Journal. In brief, Bodendick was born in 1634 at Lüneburg, northern Germany, his father, a butcher/cook, having hailed from Bodenteich, a nearby village. Although young Bodendick served his four-year apprenticeship from 1650 with the goldsmith Heinrich Fulman (Volman) of Lüneburg, nothing is known of his movements immediately following his freedom in 1654. Mr. Smith surmised that he travelled as a journeyman during his wanderjahre and probably arrived in London in the late 1650s. No doubt he was drawn, like many of his contemporaries, by the city’s wealth and unrivalled opportunities as it stood on the eve of the Restoration of the Monarchy. There he became acquainted with the goldsmith William Mouse of Foster Lane, near Goldsmiths’ Hall: ‘Bodendick’s abilities in chasing, embossing, casting, and the making of articles of plate in baroque style,’ wrote Smith, ‘would have been essential to Mouse’s enterprise, which probably supplied both working and retailing goldsmiths as well as selling plate to private clients. . . . Mouse would have been fully aware of the fines he faced from the Goldsmiths’ Company for employing an alien craftsman who had neither the right of assay nor freedom of the Company.’

David Mitchell devotes an entire chapter of his book, Silversmiths in Elizabethan and Stuart London to the subject of working goldsmith ‘Strangers’ or ‘Aliens’ from overseas who established themselves in the City of London, much to the annoyance of native craftsmen.12 In this tense atmosphere the Goldsmiths’ Company often found itself trying to satisfy opposing factions; sometimes supporting native goldsmiths in need of work, at others giving way to the appeals of the best shopkeepers and banker/goldsmiths who relied on the superior craftsmanship of the ‘Strangers’ to uphold the status of their businesses.

The relationship between Mouse and Bodendick quickly developed beyond the professional: in October 1661 Bodendick became Mouse’s son-in-law by marrying his daughter, Susan (Susannah) (1639?-1729). By the time of William Mouse’s death in 1671/72, Bodendick was already established as ‘one of the most skilled of London foreign-born goldsmiths’ whose work found its way onto the market via a number of leading members of the trade.14 Other, similar cups to the present example, almost certainly work for which Bodendick was responsible, have been recorded with various other so-called maker’s marks, including IT (Thomas Jenkins)15 and RC in a dotted circle (Robert Cooper).16

Another ‘Stranger’ was Wolfgag Howzer (d. after 1703), a Swiss-born goldsmith who had arrived in London about 1657 and who is known to have supplied the prominent banker/goldsmiths, Sir Robert Vyner and Edward Blackwell, although he, like Bodendick, was not officially allowed to trade. Nevertheless, both men’s work was known and admired in a higher place than occupied by the banker/goldsmiths and the gentlemen at Goldsmiths’ Hall, namely King Charles II. Early in 1664, having petitioned the King and received his support, Bodendick and Howzer approached the Goldsmiths’ Company requesting that their work should be struck with their own marks and allowed assay. A compromise was reached, whereby the King promised to be ‘very sparing in recommending of Forreigneers to any the like privileges.’ (sic) For their part, the two goldsmiths had to agree to employ only native-born craftsmen in their workshops. So it was that in 1664 both Bodendick and Howzer were allowed to enter their marks at Goldsmiths’ Hall. David Mitchell lists many surviving pieces struck with their marks, the former hallmarked from 1664 to 1680, the latter from 1664 to 1674.17

Jacob Bodendick died on 5 August 1681 and was buried in the parish of St. Ann and St. Agnes, City of London. His widow, Susan (Susannah) went to live with their daughter at Barnwell, Cambridge where she died aged 92 and was buried there on 5 November 1729.18 Their daughter, Susannah (1662-1739), who was her grandfather, William Mouse’s principal heir, married the Rev. John Butler (1670-1714) of Wallington, Hertfordshire, eventual heir of the Barnwell estate.19

1. British History Online: Godlinton, Kent, accessed 19 March 2019
2. Notes on Antique Silver, 1944-45, p. 8, illustrated, probably purchased from the sale of Sir John Noble, Christie’s, London, 13 December 1944
3. Exhibited at the Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1901, catalogue pl. 110, fig. 2
4. Sotheby’s, London, 6 May 1924, p. 83; see also Sotheby’s, London, 2 June 1949, lot 165; and Charles Oman, Caroline Silver, London, 1970, pl. 16B
5. The Glory of the Goldsmith; Magnificent Gold and Silver from the Al-Tajir Collection, exhibition catalogue, London, 1989, p. 54, no. 34, sold Christie’s, London, 12 June 2002, lot 121
6. Ian Pickford, Jackson’s, London, 1989, p. 128; Erich J.G. Smith, ‘Jacob Bodendeck,’ The Silver Society Journal, London, no. 13, 2000, pp. 66-80 and no. 14, pp. 109-122; and David Mitchell, Silversmiths in Elizabethan and Stuart London, London, 2017, pp. 346 and 347
7. Old English Plate, London, 1878, pp. 363 and 364
8. James Lomax, ‘Huguenot Goldsmiths in England,’ Paul Corby Finney, editor, Seeing Beyond the Word, Visual Arts and the Calvanist Tradition, Michigan and Cambridge, U.K., 1999, p. 92, fig. 26.
9. ‘The Silver of the Dutch Church, Austin Friars,’ The Burlington Magazine, London, January 1941, pp. 27 and 28 and photograph, where the IB mark is ascribed to J. Burt?
10. Old English Plate, London, 1878, p. 315.
11. Langford & Son, A Catalogue of the Noble collection of . . . the right Honourable Lady Elizabeth Germain, London, 7 March 1770 and three following days; G. Robins, A Catalogue of the classic contents of Strawberry Hill, London, 1842, 23rd day
12. David M. Mitchell, Silversmiths in Elizabethan and Stuart London, London, 2017, Ch. 5, ‘Stranger Goldsmiths’
13. His will was proved on 4 March 1672 (London Metropolitan Archives, MS 9172/62/52)
14. Eric J.G. Smith, ‘Jacob Bodendick,’ Silver Society Journal, no. 14, London, 2002, p. 122
15. Goldsmiths’ Company’s Collection
16. Sotheby’s, London, 10 March 1994, lot 244
17. David M. Mitchell, Silversmiths in Elizabethan and Stuart London, London, 2017, pp. 346 and 582
18. William Robert Brown, Mems and Gems of Old Cambridge Law, Cambridge, 1902, pages unnumbered
19. J. Nichols, The History and Antiquities of Barnwell Abbey, and of Sturbridge Fair, London, 1786

Style: European Silver, Ceramics, and Objects of Vertu