This inkstand is thought to have belonged to William Beckford of Fonthill Abbey (1760-1844) and then acquired by the Dukes of Hamilton following the marriage on 26 April 1810 of Beckford’s daughter and co-heir, Susan Euphemia (1786-1859) to Alexander Hamilton, 10th Duke of Hamilton (1767-1852).
A very similar two bottle inkstand with bell in white silver, Isaac Liger, London, 1716, originally among the Earl of Warrington’s ‘Chamber Plate,’ is now at Dunham Massey in Cheshire (James Lomax and James Rothwell, Country House Silver from Dunham Massey, The National Trust, 2006, p. 101, cat. 43, inventory no. DUN/S/303. See also another inkstand of similar design, engraved with the cypher of Queen Anne, Louis Mettayer, London, 1710, from the collection of Sir William Bromley-Davenport (1862-1949), illustrated in W.W. Watts, Old English Silver, London, 1924, p. xix, no. 78a and pl. Others bearing the marks of David Tanqueray and Anthony Nelme have also been recorded.
The engraving of the cypher of William III, who died on 8 March 1702, and the likely date of manufacture of this inkstand of about 1715 seem at first to be at odds. It has been suggested that an earlier object bearing the King’s cypher was refashioned into its present form and then engraved to match.
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