This vessel of hammered and chased silver sheet is a holy water stoup or bucket used as part of the Catholic liturgy. It is in the style of Spanish colonial silverwork produced in Mexico or South America.
It sits on a wide foot with a chalice-like body. The foot and the lower part of the body are decorated with petal-like ribbing, and the main part of the body is chased with floral-like lunettes. A swing handle is attached to the top of the vessel.
Such a holy water aspersorium would be used in conjunction with a aspergillum (hisopo), a pestle-like instrument that the clergy would dip into the holy water and then flick over whatever or whoever they intended to bless.
The foot is engraved with a name ‘F. A. Pole-Carew’ plus there are two maker’s or assay marks on both the foot and the handle: one with the letters CA, and the other is a stamped animal assay mark over the number-letters 00Z. We have not been able to identify these marks. However, ‘F. A. Pole-Carew’ most probably is the name of a (later) owner and possibly refers to Frances Antonia Pole-Carew, a daughter of the British politician the Rt. Hon. Reginald Pole-Carew (1753- 1835), a minister and Privy Counsellor. He was also a major art collector, and the British Museum was among the buyers of his estate.
The stoup is in excellent condition. It is not heavy for its size.
Bargellini, C. et al, Mexican Silver/Mexicaans Zilver, Europalia93 Mexico, 1993.
de Lavalle, J.A. & W. Lang, Arte y Tesoros del Peru: Plateria Virreynal, Banco de Credito del Peru en la Cultura, 1974.
Luis Ribera, A., & H.H. Schenone, Plateria Sudamericana de los Siglos XVII-XX, Hirmer Verlag Muchen, 1981.
Palomero Paramo, J.M., Plata Labrada de Indias, Patronato Quinto Centrenario – Huelva, 1992.
Torres della Pina, J., & V. Mujica Diez Canseco (eds.), Peruvian Silver and Silversmiths, Patronato Plata del Peru, 1997.