An important engraved bossed dish, circa 1640
Lot 286
An important engraved bossed dish, circa 1640
Sold for £7,520 (US$ 10,203) inc. premium

Lot Details
An important engraved bossed dish, circa 1640 An important engraved bossed dish, circa 1640 An important engraved bossed dish, circa 1640 An important engraved bossed dish, circa 1640
An important engraved bossed dish, circa 1640
With plain sloping rim, gentle booge and boss, the well engraved with the fighting ship ‘Sovereign of the Seas’, the rim engraved with a foliate spray and 'The Dominion of the Seas', old repairs, wear to surface, diameter 15in (38cm)

Together with a Charles I large cast medal, by Nicholas Briot, 'The Dominion of the Sea', 1639, diameter 5.5cm. Provenance: Glendinings & Co., lot 55, 16 March 1989.

Together with three related books: G.Callender, 'The Portrait of Peter Pett and The Sovereign of the Seas', Yelf Bros Ltd., 1930; D. Howarth, 'Sovereign of the Seas, The story of British Sea Power', Collins 1974; E. Fraser, 'Famous Fighters of the Fleet', Macmillan & Co., 1904.


  • The 'Sovereign of the Seas' was the greatest warship built in the 17th century and the pride of the Royal Navy. Designed and built by Phineas Pett and his son Peter, both master shipwrights [at Deptford], she was the largest ship in the world when she was launched at Woolwich on 14th October 1637. A huge three-decker and the first vessel to mount 100 guns, she was measured by the Petts at 1,141 tons and her triple-planked hull was 234 feet long from beakhead to taffrail. Similarly, she was 63 feet from the base of her keel to the top of her enormous stern lantern - in which twelve men could stand together - and these two extreme measurements compare remarkably closely to those of the “Victoria”, a much larger vessel of 4,127 tons bm. built in 1859 and the last wooden three-decker to serve in a British fleet as a sea-going flagship. “Sovereign’s” artillery was of the usual varying calibre but was mounted on her gundecks in previously unknown groupings which simply accentuated her powerful and innovative modernity. Even more striking was the lavish ornamentation which covered her hull and whilst some decoration was standard practice at this period, “Sovereign of the Seas” was a truly magnificent exception to the normal rules. The gilded panels and figures along the entire length of her hull and more particularly at bow and stern were veritable masterpieces of the wood carver’s art, the whole ensemble being crowned by a splendid gilt equestrian figure of King Charles I on her prow. Even more significantly, as the first ship ever to have three flush decks, to rig topgallant sails at her fore and mizzen masts, and to carry a royal sail at the main, she proved the model for all those ‘wooden walls of old England’ which followed her and which gave the Royal Navy command of the seas in the coming two centuries.

    Conceived for and completed at the command of Charles I, “Sovereign of the Seas” was scheduled to be renamed “Commonwealth” after the execution of the King in 1649 but this idea was abandoned and her name was merely shortened to “Sovereign”. Some of her more decorative superstructure was removed in 1651 to improve her sailing qualities and she saw her first real action at the battle of Kentish Knock on 28th September 1652 during the Anglo-Dutch War of 1652-54. Rebuilt at Chatham in 1659-60 and renamed “Royal Sovereign” at the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, she saw plenty of action from then onwards and played a valuable rôle in both the Second and Third Dutch Wars later in the reign of Charles II. In 1685 she was once again rebuilt at Chatham following damage in a dockyard fire there and returned to service as flagship to Admiral the Earl of Torrington at the battle of Beachy Head in June 1690. Thereafter flagship at the battle of Barfleur in May 1692, her long career was only ended when she was accidentally burnt at Chatham in January 1696 whilst being prepared for a third rebuild.

    The significance of the ship and the dish are fully discussed in an article in The Journal of the Pewter Society', Vol.5, No.3, Spring 1986, pp.85-90.
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