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ST Michaels Tazza

AN ELIZABETHAN TAZZA BELONGING TO THE CHURCH OF ST. MICHAEL, SOUTHAMPTON.
By the BEV. Ε. H. GODDARD.
During the visit of the Institute to Southampton in July, 1902, a remarkable tazza was exhibited among the plate of St. Michael's Church. This singularly beautiful specimen of English silversmiths' work until quite recently, when its value had been recognized during an exhibition of the church plate of the rural deanery, was regarded as absolutely of no account by its legal guardians, who did not even know that it was silver. Nothing is known as to the date when it became the property of the church, where it was used as a credence paten, or as to the name of the donor. It bears engraved under the base the letters A.W. which may be of eighteenth century date. The piece is a richly ornamented silver-gilt tazza of the very finest English work. Its measurements are as follows:— Diameter of bowl ... ... ... 6§ inches. Height ... ... ... ... 5f ,, Diameter of base Depth of bowl, outside measure Its weight is... Just below the rim on the inside of the bowl is a band of engraved strap work of the usual Elizabethan type, with six Vandykes coming down to a band of embossed laurel leaves with four straps across it, enclosing an embossed subject which covers the whole of the bottom of the bowl. In this Isaac advances to lift Rebecca from her kneeling camel, three other camels standing behind. On the right is the entrance to a house, from which a boy advances. A dog lies in the foreground. In the middle distance the sea, or a river, encloses an island on which appear palm trees, houses, and a church with a spire. The sun is setting to the right. On the outside of the bowl under the rim is an engraved border of strapwork, in which, amongst foliage of the usual character, appear two foxes, a rabbit sitting, a grasshopper, a lizard, and a snake tied in a knot. Below this is a very narrow raised band of extremely delicate egg-andtongue moulding. The whole under side of the bowl is covered with six embossed jewelled scutcheons connected by swags of drapery with bunches of fruit and flowers. Round the head of the stem is a fine band of egg-aiidtongue moulding with chased acanthus leaves below springing from a knop of vase-like form with a flat projecting scalloped edge. The body • of the knop is enriched with four jewelled scutcheons with swags of fruit and flowers below them. The base of this vase-shaped knop projects as an enriched gadroon. Below this is a cylindrical drum with a band of fluted strapwork. Beneath this is a band of egg-and-tongue, outside which is a broad band of very rich embossed work of grotesque marine beasts, and below this again a projecting rim of egg-and-tongue moulding with an edge of small scallops. This is divided from the actual rim of the base, which has larger egg-and-tongue ornament, by a narrow chased band with minute circles and flutes. The Hall marks are the lion passant and the leopard's head uncrowned, with the London date letter it for 1567. The maker's mark is a bunch of grapes within a plain shield. Mr. Cripps gives the mark as that of the maker of a silver-gilt cup and cover with chased ornament belonging to the Armourer's Company. The name of the maker using this mark appears to be unknown. Whoever he may have been, he was an admirable artist

now held at Southampton Art Gallery

Published:

28th Mar 2016 15:03

Author:

Rev Goddard

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