A rare antique French sterling silver figural toothpick holder stand. Featuring a fully dimensional figure of a lion! Finely casted, and beautifully rendered, the figure is of exceptional quality. Exquisite detail to the fur and mane, with fierce eyes, teeth and impressive claws. Holding in his paws a large shield with oval cartouche. Engraved with a coat of arms identified as that of the family Ladrón de Guevara / de Guevara of Spain. Bearing the motto or phrase Oí que buen Ladrón de Guevara / I heard the good Thief of Guevara. On a footed tray with beaded edging and four paw feet. Engraved within initials L.S. Hallmarked with the French Minerve 1st standard mark, which depicts the goddess Minerva with a number 1 beside her indicating a silver content of .950/1000 silver (95% pure silver and higher than .925 sterling). In overall good antique condition with general wear commensurate with age and use. Measures 4 1/2" height x 4 3/4" length x 3" wide. Weighs 364.6 grams.
At the beginning of 19th century, with the introduction of disposable wooden toothpicks, the use of figural holders suitable to display the toothpicks on the table, spread in Continental Europe. Usually these holders had a pierced base or a small container where sunburst toothpicks ornamentation were inserted and were stunning figural pieces crafted by skilled silversmiths. Often resembling animals (porcupines especially) or mythological figures, cherubs and human figures, presenting a sunburst or ray of toothpicks for a grand display. During the 19th century, the toothpick holder was an essential part of the formal dining table settings. However, as post-Victorian etiquette frowned on using toothpicks at the dining table, the production of silver figural toothpick holders ceased, rather evolving into barrel or urn shaped non-figural holders.
The motto or phrase on this coat of arms is an interesting nod or play on the surname's origins. The surname Ladrón de Guevara is undoubtedly a derivation of the last name, Ladrón. There are legends as to the origins of the name 'Thief' of Guevara, given as an augmentation of honour, 'a good thief'. One theory, is that the name originates from a castle in the small town of Guevara, supposedly from the peculiarity to have been a den of thieves. Another legend suggests the name was bestowed honorably, after a stronghold in Guevara was 'stolen' back to Spain (retaken from the Moors). According to the most common legend, in the year 870, the King Garcia Iñiguez I of Pamplona and his wife Doña Urraca were killed in battle. A nobleman from Alava, Sancho Núñez de Guevara was able to rescue from the pregnant Doña Urraca a baby whom he named Sancho (Sancho Garcés I of Navarre) and kept hidden until the resignation of the throne of his brother Fortún Garcés. When the courts of Sangüesa recognized him as king, Sancho Garcés affectionately nicknamed "Thief" his savior, for having stolen him from death, and giving rise to the surname Ladrón de Guevara.
The coat of arms on this fascinating toothpick holder match that on the ancestral residence of the Guevara family. With impressive lion flanked Guevara coat of arms gracing the grandiose main doorway of the Palacio de Guevara in Lorca, Spain. Also know as the Casa de las Columnas, the order to build the palatial residence of the family Guevara was given in 1689 by Don Juan de Guevara Garcia de Alcaraz, a Knight of the Order of Santiago. Worth a search online to view the impressive cartouche and column filled doorway.
Rare Antique French Sterling Silver Toothpick Holder, 3D Lion Figure, Heraldry Armorial Coat of Arms
$2,795 25% Off
You save $698