Elizabethan silver and porcelain goblet

Elizabethan silver and porcelain goblet, estimate £6000-8000 at Chiswick Auctions on October 11.

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The previously unrecorded piece is expected to sell for £6000-8000 at Chiswick Auctions on October 11.

This is the second time this piece, fashioned by an English goldsmith using a tea bowl imported from Ming China, has been prepared for sale. It was withdrawn from Chiswick’s last silver sale at the eleventh hour following a wide disparity in opinion over its date from several respected academics and members of the trade. The decision was taken to subject the cup to scientific testing and seek further consultation with museum authorities.

“Declared to be 16th century”

Head of department John Rogers is now happy to announce that, following the assessment of the most senior body of silver experts in the UK and date testing, the item has been declared to be 16th century. The three test sites to the metal were found to have a probability of 96.33% for the date range 1500- 1600, with 0% after 1697.

“The De Pinna cup has proven to be the most pensive discovery of my career to date”, he said. “It challenged what one thought one knew about 16th century silver, and then challenged many others’ views upon handling it. I am very proud to return it to market with the backing of the most advanced scientific testing available.”

It was early this year that Rogers received an image of the 5in (13cm) high goblet via email. After visiting the seller’s home in Hammersmith, west London, the following day, he confirmed the discovery. It combines a Kraak blue and white porcelain tea bowl from the reign of the Wanli emperor (1573-1620) with a strapwork and openwork silver mount of a type that was fashionable from c.1580-1600.

Unmarked, it probably post-dates by a decade or so the earliest dated piece of English silver mounted Chinese porcelain (the Lennard Cup of 1569 in the British Museum) and is probably contemporary with the four items of silver-mounted Wanli porcelain once owned by Sir Walter Raleigh and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The full history of this rediscovered piece is unknown. However, it comes by descent from Arthur Abraham Clifford De Pinna (1889-1947), a furniture dealer in Piccadilly whose cousin was the London dealer in Oriental porcelain Alfred Samson de Pinna (1868-1963).