An engraved mammoth heavy baluster goblet of Military and Masonic significance the glass circa 1720
Lot 20
An engraved mammoth heavy baluster goblet of Military and Masonic significance
the glass circa 1720
Sold for £ 8,520 (US$ 11,902) inc. premium

Lot Details
An engraved mammoth heavy baluster goblet of Military and Masonic significance
the glass circa 1720
The generous round funnel bowl with half knop to the base, later decorated with the figure of Britannia seated on headland, a ship in full sail in the distance, all within a circular line panel flanked by a sailor or marine to the left, standing on a cannon, holding a sword and smoking a long pipe, a grenadier to the right, standing on a drum, holding a musket with bayonet, a bag inscribed GR hanging from his shoulder, the reverse with a further line panel enclosing a pair of crossed ornamental keys and the initials JB, inscribed below ONE MORE AND THEN, the rim inscribed OUR LANDS. WELFARE and HEARTS. OF OAK, over a wide angular knop with an elongated tear over a folded domed foot, 30.8cm high


  • It is possible that this goblet may be related to an English regiment established in the late 17th century. However, from the style of military uniform for the grenadier on the right, the engraving appears to date from the first half of the 18th century or possibly from the period of the Seven Years' War (1756-63). The close similarities between the uniform worn by Grenadiers in circa 1720 and that of 1760 makes a precise dating of the goblet impossible. It is further complicated by the other figure depicted. His short breeches suggest a naval connection and, to balance the common infantryman on the other side, he is likely to be a rating rather than an officer. However, as no British naval rating wore jackets of any form in the 18th century it has been suggested that the figure may represent a Marine. The style of dress and his grand hat would all indicate a Commissioned Officer, but as the first Royal Naval Dress Regulations do not appear until 1747 one must conclude that the whole portrayal is for the grandeur and benefit of the goblet and may have no historical accuracy.

    The naïve style of the figures is in keeping with English provincial painting where two- rather than three-dimensional images are often portrayed. Representing the navy, the inscription 'Hearts of Oak' may be a direct reference to the famous sea shanty Heart of Oak by Dr. William Boyce (1711-1779) for whom the English words were written in 1759 by the famous actor David Garrick (1716-1779). The figure of a seated Britannia is recorded on glass goblets from at least the mid 18th century to the period of the Napoleonic Wars in circa 1800 and later. The inscription 'Our Lands Welfare' is a reference to the army whilst 'One More and Then' is a drinking toast from the 18th century.

    The initials JB probably stand for Joachim and Boaz - the columns at the doors of Solomon's temple. The crossed keys symbol with the handles at the bottom and the teeth uppermost is generally associated with St. Peter. Shown in their inverse manner however, as on the present lot, it is the symbol of the treasurer of a Masonic lodge, first adopted in 1717 at the establishment of the Grand Lodge in London. Military Freemasons joined their civilian brothers at meetings in taverns, from which many of the hostelries adopted the name 'The Cross Keys'. A special arrangement was made for the professional soldiers who could not regularly attend lodge meetings when Grand Lodges began issuing warrants or charters for Regiments to have Military (travelling) Lodges. The first such authorisation appears to have been made by the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1743 when "at the recommendation of the Earl of Kilmarnock, Grand Master, the first Military Lodge (under the Grand Lodge) was erected, the petitioners all belonging to Colonel Lees' regiment," afterwards the 55th foot. The first English Military Lodge was established in 1750, and attached to the 31st Foot.

    The 31st was first raised in 1694 but was disbanded in Ireland in 1698. The regiment was re-raised under George Villier in 1702 as Villier's Regiment of Marines. The regiment was also known as the 2nd Regiment of Marines. It was reformed as a regiment of foot in 1715 and distinguished themselves at the battle of Dettingen in 1743. They were designated as the 31st Regiment of Foot in 1751. Regimental Lodges proliferated in England, Ireland, and Scotland during the eighteenth century, the Freemasons generally being strongly supportive of the armed forces.

    We are grateful to Dixon Pickup for his assistance with cataloguing this lot.
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