Gilt Silver Jug
Spanish Colonial Guatemala
height: 16cm, width: 15.8cm, weight: 434g
This fine Spanish colonial, South American jug of hand-beaten, solid silver, most probably comes from Guatemala, during the period of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.
It sits on a low, flared, cast foot that has six lobes. The body tapers outward and is gadrooned with four prominent lobes. The handle is solid-cast and of classic ‘S’ form.
It has been gilded (gold plated, probably with mercury-fire gilding) all over. The gilding to the exterior has worn with use and time so that the colouring of the outside is now a very pleasing mix of silver and gold. The interior largely retains is gilding.
The exterior has been engraved with a later inscription ‘Nov 22 / W.B.D. – I.P.B.D. / 1853-1903’ – which almost certainly is an inscription for a golden (fifty years) wedding anniversary. Probably this was done in England; the jug seems to have been given in the early 20th century as a wedding anniversary gift by which time is already was almost two hundred years old.
The styling suggests an eighteenth century dating and possibly earlier, as well as a Guatemalan provenance. (See the front cover of Esteras Martin, 1994, for a Guatemalan stem cup with related form and similar gilding).
The jug has wear, light denting and some surface scratching commensurate with its age. We have elected to leave it in its current form – these signs of age add to its decorative value in our view.
Esteras Martin , C., La Plateria en el Reino de Guatemala, Siglos XVI-XIX, Fundacion Albergue Hermano Pedro, 1994.
UK art market
Inventory no.: 3618