A rare silver bowl made during the 17th Century has turned up in Essex after being lost for 50 years.
The extremely rare silver bowl was among other silver items taken to Sworders Auctioneers, based in Essex, to be appraised. The rare piece belonged to Colonel SL Bibby CBE, who was a silver collector. The bowl is one of eight lots belonging to the family of the owner.
The bowl is known as a ‘porringer’, and was originally used to hold stews or soups. The item is shallow and measures 6.25 inches from handle to handle, while being just 2.75 inches high. The piece has been dated between 1659 and 1663, the time of Oliver Cromwell, and made in Dublin. It was described as being “the second oldest known piece of Irish secular plate”.
The silver specialist at Sworders, Anita Anderson, used enlarged photos to determine the marks on the bowl, which turned out to be the letter ‘B’ (indicating the date of production) and the harp of Dublin. The mark of the maker ‘IS’ remains a mystery, but it is due to this that the bowl is known as the IS porringer.
The granddaughter of Bibby has memories of the family meals held in a dining room filled with Georgian and Stuart table silver. Sadly, much of the collection had previously been stolen. The remaining items will be sold at auction on November 30.
Items like the porringer are not only treasured family heirlooms, but are also attractive pieces on an old dining suite, perhaps an antique dining table , to celebrate a family occasion.
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