The Teniers Rosewater Ewer and Basin. A Flemish Silver ewer and basin. The basin with mark of Philips Le Noir, Ghent, 1682-1683, The ewer with mark of Wierick Somers III, Antwerp, circa 1696. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2011
The shaped circular basin with broad border chased with five shaped cartouches, the first depicting two putti playing with a tethered dove, the second with a putto pouring wine from a ewer into a drinking bowl held by another putto, the third with two drunken putti with the broken ewer between them, the fourth with a seated putto embracing another holding a bird seated on a perch, the fifth with two putti filling a drinking bowl and ewer from a waterfall, the top of the border chased and engraved with two coats-of-arms accollé with putti supporters, the centre chased with the seated figure of the Maid of Ghent, the lion resting his head upon her lap, both within a pallisade with a city beyond, all encircled by a ribbon-bound laurel wreath over which extends the banner held by the maid which bears the inscription SPQG (Senatus Populus Que Gandavensis), the tapering cylindrical ewer on detachable spreading circular foot with fluted border, with bracket handle and covered spout with heart shaped opening, the hinged cover with shell and foliage thumbpiece and acanthus bud finial, the foot and cover chased with a band of shell, scroll and berried husks, the upper body with scrolling flowers and foliage, both on a matted ground, the body engraved with two coats-of-arms accollé, marked on ewer foot and the border of the basin
The basin 28¼ (72 cm.) diam.
The ewer 11 in. (28 cm.) high
The basin 114 oz. (3,553 gr.)
The ewer 52 oz. (1,640 gr.)
The arms are those of Van Goethem and Bonnaerens, for Bartholomeus Alexander van Goethem (1651-1722) and his wife Anna Maria (1652-1727), née Bonnaerens, mother of David Teniers IV (1672-1731) by her first husband David Teniers III (1638-1685). (2)
Estimate £300,000 - £500,000($480,600 - $801,000). Price Realized £337,250 ($538,251)
Provenance: Purchased in Antwerp from silversmith Wierick Somers III on 2 March 1696 by David Teniers IV (1672-1731), son of David Teniers III (1638-1685) and Anna Maria, neé Bonnaerens.
A gift to his mother and stepfather Anna Maria (1652-1727), neé Bonnaerens and Bartholomeus Alexander van Goethem (1651-1722) on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of their marriage, and then by descent.
Literature: E. Dilis, Notice sur Wierick Somers le Vieux, orfèvre-ciseleur anversois, 1re moitié de 17e sièle, Antwerp, 1903, pp. 16-17
P. Baudouin and G. de Coninck, 'Zilver op tafel: Vlaams tafelzilver van de 16e tot 18e eeuw', Openbaar Kunstbezit in Vlaanderen, 1984, pp. 121-163, no. 22.
Exhibition catalogue, Silver from the Antwerp Golden Age, Antwerp Domestic Silver from the 17th and 18th Century, 1988, p. 97, no. 75, the ewer illustrated.
P. Baudouin, P. Colman and D. Goethals, De edelsmeedkunst in Belgie: profaan zilver in da 16e, 17e, 18e eeuw, Tielt, 1988, p. 77, no. 71.
P. Baudouin, 'Verkenning van de Antwerpse edelsmeedkunst', Genootschap voor Antwerpse Geschiedenis, p. 399.
Exhibited: Ghent, Exposition Universelle et International, L'art ancien dans les Flandres: Région de l'Escaut, 1913, no. 633
Antwerp, World Fair, Wereldtentoonstelling voor Kolonin, Zeevaart en Oud-Vlaamsche Kunst, 1930, no. F5
Ghent, Museum Vanderhaegen, Oud edelsmeedwerk en Chinees porselein, 1953, described as by 'Miricus Soenens', no. 4
Deurne, Provinciaal Museum Sterckshof, Kunstvoorwerpen uit verzamelingen in de Provincie Antwerpen, 1961, no. 175
Brussels, Generale Bankmaatschappij, Burglijk zilverwerk met de stempls van Belgische steden 17e en 18e eeuw uit private verzamelingen, 1969, no. 4 and 45 and pl. V.
Ghent, Bijlokemuseum, Meesterwerken in zilver uit privé-veramelingen, 1985, the ewer no. 38, the dish, 185.
Antwerp, The Rubens House, Silver from the Antwerp Golden Age, Antwerp Domestic Silver from the 17th and 18th Century, 1988, November 1988 - January 1989, no. 75.
Notes: It is rare to find a 17th century ewer accompanied by the rosewater basin with which it was purchased in the late 17th century. It is rarer still for both to belong to a descendant of the 17th century owner, and it is almost unheard of for pieces of this importance to be accompanied by the original bill of purchase. The Teniers ewer and basin are both exceptional survivals and magnificent examples of the finest Flemish goldsmith's work. They were acquired by the artist David Teniers IV (1672-1731) in Antwerp from silversmith Wierick Somers III on the 2 March 1696 (see illustration). The ewer and basin, or 'Lampetpot' and 'schotel' as they are described on the invoice, were a gift to his mother and stepfather, Anna Maria, née Bonnaerens and Bartholomeus Alexander van Goethem on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of their marriage. The joining of the two families is celebrated by the accollé coats-of-arms engraved on the putti supported oval cartouches on the broad border of the dish and the arms simply engraved on the body of the ewer. The border of the dish is chased in the auricular style with masks, berried acanthus foliage scrolls and cartouches enclosing putti. The centre depicts the coat-of-arms of the City of Gent, with the allegorical figure of the Maid of Ghent and with the lion resting at her feet. Teniers was the grandson of the artist David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) and the son of David Teniers III (1638-1685), who had married Anna Maria Bonnarens in 1671.
The rosewater ewer and basin are the grandest form of display plate. As the centrepiece of a buffet or sideboard they represented the hospitality of the host and his wealth. These costly objects evolved from the dishes held by servants beneath the hands of a guest to catch the scented rosewater poured from a ewer. This was an essential part of the ritual of dining when the guests used a knife, a spoon and their fingers to eat. With the advent of the fork and a refinement of the etiquette of dining the rosewater ewer and basin became to be used more for display than use. During times of hardship it was not unusual to melt wrought silver objects to produce bullion or coinage. This places an even greater important on the richness of the decoration of the dish and ewer - the skills of the greatest chasers being a large part of the cost of production.
The translation of the bill
"A large silver dish (not deep), the border skillfully repoussé with in a centre the Virgin of Gand, and weighing 116.5 ounces and half (English?) bought from him and including the making priced at 61,5 silver deniers per ounces bringing it to 354 florins 6.
A silver ewer, also skillfully repoussé and weighing 53 ounces and 11 "English" bought from the same maker at 55 deniers per ounces totalling 147 florins and 5.
For the making of the ewer as agreed, 25 florins.
For a reward given as the arms were so well engraved, 10 florins.
In money the total being 537 florins.
Made in Antwerp March 2nd 1696"
Chtristie's. The Exceptional Sale 2011, 7 July 2011, London, King Street www.christies.com