Kensington House Antiques and Sterling Silver Kensington House
All Items : Estate Jewelry : Gold : Pre Victorian : Pre 1800 item #1150133
Kensington House Antiques
A truly superb and rare example of a Georgian mourning ring, the navette-shaped crown set with a mourning scene on ivory covered with a rock crystal dome. The scene depicts are pair of doves perched on the edge of a fountain. The doves are worked in a thick application of enamel so they stand out from the ivory background like a bas-relief. Doves were commonly a reference to the Holy Spirit The fountain itself is made with gold borders (presumably 15K) infilled wth enamels and highlighted with floral swags applied with watercolors. A matching swag, centering a seed pearl, is suspended above the birds and fountain. The crystal is surrounded by a border of bright green and white enamel worked in a scalloped pattern. White enamel is rather uncommon and was nearly always used sparingly to reference the purity of a deceased woman. The use of green is extremely rare. The interior of the shank has an engraved monogram and a partial date that was obscured when the back of the shank was sized. At the time of the sizing, the interior of the shank was also stamped with a modern American 14K hallmark. The shank itself, however is completely original and is actually 15K gold, as is the crown.

Origin: England, ca. 1785. Condition: excellent, minute loss to enamel, sized. Finger Size: 6-1/2. Size: crown, 7/8” x 11/16”. Weight: 5.2 grams.

All Items : Antiques : Decorative Art : Metals : Silver : Continental : Pre 1800 item #1168388
Kensington House Antiques
An extraordinarily fine museum-quality French silver tastevin from the reign of Louis XV. The vessel’s sides are decorated with ornate applied and engraved strapwork alternating with fleurs-de-lys, the symbol of France’s ruling Bourbon dynasty. Rather than the traditional convex base, this tastevin is centered with a rare silver jeton issued by Louis XV to celebrate the birth of his first grandson, Louis-Joseph-Xavier, in 1751. Ornate line engraving and evenly-spaced repousse dimples surround the medal. The whole is raised on a ropetwist foot. The handle, in the form of a pair of intertwined dolphins, the symbol of the “dauphin” or heir to the French throne, is without parallel in any tastevin we’ve seen. The dolphin motif is a reference to the subject matter of the medallion inset into the bottom of the tastevin. The outer edge is engraved “De Melinville 1757”.

As noted previously, the medal inset into the bottom of the tastevin celebrates the birth of Louis XV’s first grandson. He would have inherited the throne ahead of his younger brother, Louis XVI, had he not died at the age of nine after a fall from his hobby horse. The jeton’s obverse, displayed on the interior of the tastevin, depicts Louis XV crowned with a laurel wreath and surrounded by the identifying words “LUD. XV REX CHRISTIANISS” (“The most Christian Louis XV”). The medal is is signed “B. DUVIVIER F.” for Pierre-Simon-Benjamin Duvivier (1730-1819) who later served as Medal Engraver to the King beginning in 1764 and then as France’s 13th “graveur général des monnaies” from 1774 until after the fall of the monarchy in 1791. The medal’s reverse depicts the goddess of childbirth, Lucina, introducing the infant (titled duc de Bourgogne)to the French nation personified as a kneeling maiden. The upper edge reads “PROLE ET PARTU FELIX” (“Announcing the happy birth” and a lower panel explains the reason for the issuance of the jeton, “DUX BURGUNDIAE DELPHINI FIL. LUD. XV NEPOS. NATUS XIII SEPTEMBRIS MDCCLI” (“Duke of Burgundy, son of the Dauphin, son of Louis XV, was born 13 September 1751”).

Silver dating to the pre-revolutionary “ancien regime” is extremely rare. France’s finances were weak and even the king himself was forced to melt nearly all his silver tableware to pay his debts. Michel Delapierre is among the most reknowned silversmiths of the era, noted for his well-balanced designs and expert craftsmanship. Though he registered his own maker’s mark after completing his apprenticeship in 1737, he preferred to use his father’s mark, even though he had died in 1734. This tastevin bears that mark, a crowned fleur-de-lys, two grains (dots), the initials MDLP and a stone (a clever play on on words since “Pierre” means “stone”).

Delapierre’s work is exceedingly rare, and is represented in major institutional collections by two pairs of candlesticks in the Wentworth Collection at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, a single covered dish at Le Musee du Louvre, and a candlestick and a vinegar bottle in France’s Musee des Arts Decoratifs.

Generally, fine tastevins were engraved at one edge with their original owner’s name. In this case, the tastevin is engraved with the shortened name of the owner “De Melinville”. His full name and title was Armand Francois de la Pierre, Ecuyer, Marquis de Melinville, Seigneur de Talhouet et autres lieux, chevalier de l’ordre militaire de Saint-Louis. It is unlikely but not impossible that the same family name of the silversmith and the Marquis de Melinville is more than a coincidence. The Marquis de Melinville served as a “lieutenant des marechaux de France” and in that role was charged with resolving disputes between men of noble birth for the purpose of avoiding unnecessary duels. In that role, he was assigned to the town of Hennebon, in his native Brittany.

The tastevin bears the master’s mark for Michel Delapierre; the charge mark for Paris (1756-1762); the Paris discharge mark; and the commune mark (“jurande”) for 1757-58.

Origin: France, 1757. Condition: excellent, sharp detail , normal wear the foot, but virtually no wear elsewhere. Size: bowl, 3-1/2” diameter, 1-1/4” high; overall, 3-1/2” x 4-5/8”. Weight: 207.2 grams. Provenance: Robert Lloyd; A Private Collection; S J. Shrubsole.

All Items : Estate Jewelry : Gold : Pre Victorian : Pre 1800 item #1412060
Kensington House Antiques
A wonderful Georgian 18K gold ring featuring a bold royal blue enamel plaque enhanced with a gold and seed pearl applique of a pansy. The blossom is set with a rose cut diamond at the center. The entire plaque is enclosed within a rococo floral border. The shank is decorated with complimentary floral elements. In Georgian jewelry, the pansy was used in jewelry given to loved ones with the sentiment "thinking of you". Tested and guaranteed 18K.
  • Origin: England, ca 1770
  • Condition: very good; enamel has a couple of areas of surface flaking to the uppermost layer of the enamel, so the color remains intact throughout
  • Dimensions: plaque, 1-3/16" x 15/16"
  • Finger Size: 6-1/4
  • Weight: 7.1 grmams
All Items : Antiques : Decorative Art : Ceramics : Pre 1700 item #12234
Kensington House Antiques
Two-handled celadon jarlet; the glaze extending halfway down the body and in a soft green shade. The exposed earthenware is a reddish hue. Two applied strap handles connect the jar's lip to the shoulders. 15th-16th century. Origin: Southeast Asia, possibly Thailand. Size: 2.5" tall. Condition: Excellent.
All Items : Estate Jewelry : Gold : Pre Victorian : Pre 1700 item #1088409
Kensington House Antiques
A very fine and exceedingly rare mid-17th century low-karat gold “Stuart crystal” memorial slide. Such pieces were secretly worn by loyalists to mourn the deposed and executed King Charles I in 1649. Eventually, they were used to mourn other deaths, as well as to celebrate betrothals and weddings. This is a particularly fine example, combining a crystal-encased miniature portrait of a well-nourished lady, regally dressed in a gown of red velvet with gold embroidery and ermine fur trim. A black mourning veil with a widow’s peak covers her hair. Four rose-cut crystals appear at the corners. Two of them enclose a gold wirework crown over a bed of woven hair, while the other two feature gold wirework entwined “CC” ciphers over a hair background. Slides such as this were threaded onto a wide black ribbon and worn on the wrist. They are generally oval or rectangular with rounded corners, but the addition of the four “jeweled” corners is most unusual. Since the portrait miniature depicts a woman in mourning, it is most likely that the image is of the slide’s owner herself rather than the deceased. The entwined “CC” cipher used in conjunction with the crown imagery suggests that this slide is an early piece that actually commemorated the death of King Charles rather than a later piece memorializing someone in the lady's family. To the casual observer it would have looked only like a miniature portrait with decorative corners, allowing the lady to express her secret grief without unfortunate political consequences for herself.

Origin: England, ca. 1650. Condition: excellent, vivid coloring to the portrait, no losses or water damage to the wirework or hair. Size: 1-1/8” x 1-1/16”.