Webster's Dictionary defines a "masterpiece" as "a work done with extraordinary skill or artistic achievement." I have been fortunate enough lately to acquire several items which meet this criteria, and I am proud to present the "Masterpiece Collection" for the consideration of my Ruby Lane clientele!
Dating to 1740-1750, this magnificent early English silver and coral baby's rattle LITERALLY has all of the "bells and whistles!" Wrought and signed by a highly-skilled silversmith, this rattle is a collector's dream come true, and is truly worthy of Masterpiece status! Measuring 4 3/4" long, this jewel of a rattle would have been given as a christening gift to the child of a phenomenally wealthy family, and it has survived over 260 years in museum-worthy condition!
This George II rattle displays some of the most impressive silver work I have ever seen, and it is a tour de force of Rococo style! It is exquisitely-modeled from top to bottom, and boasts a hand-cut whistle, eight elegantly-fluted bells attached by silver scrolling bars to a central stippled and engraved octagonal knop, and a sleeve decorated with chased and engraved scrollwork and flowers. Perhaps best of all, it still retains its original red coral teething stick, and every element is 100% original!
The top of the rattle is also profusely decorated with repousee flowers and fluting, and the whistle has a rectangular aperture to the mouthpiece. The reverse of the mouthpiece is stamped with the maker's mark of what appears to be "I.C." (Issac Callard?) or "S.D." (Sandilands Drinkwater?) in script; this signature is very worn, but partially readable under 3x magnification. It is also hand-engraved in block capitals with the initials of the recipient, "D.R." The back of the rattle also retains its original silver suspension ring. As is the case with many recorded mid 18th-century small silver goods, this rattle does not bear a purity hallmark, but tests to sterling silver. (If anyone can help with the identification of this maker's mark, I would very much like to hear from you! The workmanship certainly looks similar to several signed Sandilands Drinkwater rattles I have seen over the years.)
Simply an outstanding example of silver work, this rattle has been superbly preserved over the centuries; none of the hollow bells are crushed or dented, and the silver displays no holes or pitting! There are a few tiny (yet adorable) teething marks to the whistle aperture, indicating that this treasure was enjoyed by its privileged original owner, but it was clearly also treasured by the family, and very well looked after! The only sign of restoration appears to be a very small spot of silver added to each edge of the back of the mouthpiece where perhaps Baby bit a little too hard, but this bit of conservation was expertly done, and I have taken it into consideration when setting my price.
Weighing in at 69.02 grams, this gorgeous rattle will be the prize of any collection of silver objet de virtu or Georgian baby rattles, and will only increase in value over the generations! It would also make the ultimate holiday gift for anyone fond of museum-quality English silver, or a generous christening gift for that special 21st-century baby! It will be shipped in a gift box with a valuation for your insurance records at no extra charge. Do not miss this superlative Masterpiece; I never, ever expect to find another, and USPS shipping is FREE!
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Your Specialists in Fine Jewelry and Decorative Arts from Antiquity - 1900. Est. 1987.
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