A fine Dutch silver-mounted diamond-point engraved calligraphic flask by Willem van Heemskerk, dated 1688
Lot 208
A fine Dutch silver-mounted diamond-point engraved calligraphic flask by Willem van Heemskerk, dated 1688
Sold for £43,200 (US$ 70,526) inc. premium

Lot Details
A fine Dutch silver-mounted diamond-point engraved calligraphic flask by Willem van Heemskerk, dated 1688
Signed, the flattened spherical form with tapering neck and applied collar, inscribed Wel hem die wel wil, applied footring and kick-in base, the neck mounted with a silver chain linked to the original mounted cork stopper applied with a Charles II Scottish silver merk above a ropework band and chased leaves, inscribed under the foot Die wel wil en graag wel doet Houd een Welgerust gemoed W V H 1688, 17.5cm high

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    The Man in 't Veld family, Vlaardingen, possibly since the early 18th century and thence by descent.

    The inscription around the body of the flask translates as 'Good luck to him who endeavours to do well'. Frans Smit, Uniquely Dutch inscriptions in Calligraphy on Glass (1989), p.129, notes that in 1710 Geertruit Gordon de Grauew stated that this was a personal motto of Heemskerk - the 'Wel hem' being onomatopoeically similar to Wilhelm (Willem). It is perhaps based upon 'The liberal soul shall be made fat' - Bible (Old Testament), Proverbs 11, 25. The inscription is also found on a 'Molglas', a cover and a goblet (Smit, op.cit. W10, W11, W12).

    The inscription on the base translates as 'He who has good intentions and actions will be of peaceful mind'.

    A handful of small flattened spherical flasks of similar height and form engraved by Heemskerk exist in public collections. However, from the literature, the present lot would appear to be the only example to possess its original silver mounts and chain. The significance of the Scottish coin has yet to be discovered. However, two larger bottles, one in the Rijksmuseum and the other formerly in the Ritman Collection, possess stoppers with Swedish and English coins respectively.
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