An agate silver-gilt mounted casting bottle, perhaps English, circa 1535-40.

An argument in favour of the English origin of this bottle is that casting bottles, for sprinkling aromatic substances, in the form of pilgrim bottles with chains, seem to have been characteristically English. Queen Elizabeth had a number when the 1574 Inventory of her plate and jewels was made. If this bottle is indeed English, as seems likely, it increases the number of surviving English mounted hardstone vessels from the early Renaissance to three worldwide. It was originally one of a pair.
It appears in the 1690 Devonshire Schedule recording an immense bequest from Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire to her daughter Anne, Countess of Exeter. Under ‘Agats and other stones’ are listed: ‘A Pair of Large Agat Bottles with Chaines set with Turquoise and Rubies Garnisht with Silver-Guilt’.

REFERENCE: EWA08516

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