The Prince William V Goblet. A highly important Beilby enamelled and gilt Royal armorial Goblet, circa 1766
Lot 142*
The Prince William V Goblet. A highly important Beilby enamelled and gilt Royal armorial Goblet, circa 1766
Sold for £ 109,250 (US$ 145,163) inc. premium

Lot Details
The Prince William V Goblet. A highly important Beilby enamelled and gilt Royal armorial Goblet, circa 1766 The Prince William V Goblet. A highly important Beilby enamelled and gilt Royal armorial Goblet, circa 1766
The Prince William V Goblet. A highly important Beilby enamelled and gilt Royal armorial Goblet, circa 1766
The deep round funnel bowl painted in colours and gilding with the arms of the Nassau Princes of Orange encircled by the Garter and surmounted by a crown and mantling, the lion supporters on a ribbon bearing the motto JE.MAIN.TIEN.DRAY, the reverse with a white butterfly and floral sprig beneath the signature in red, traces of gilding to the rim, set on a multi-knopped stem and conical foot, 30.2cm high Signed Beilby Newcastle pinxit in red enamel


  • Provenance:
    Formerly in the collection of Mme Leon Possemiers and later Mrs. E.Norman (nee de Braekeleer), sold at Sotheby's, 15 December 1975, lot 107 and 1 November 1982, lot 45

    James Rush, A Beilby Odyssey (1987), p.130, pl.95, and p.128
    Lloyd (2000), pp.70-72, pls.87 and 88
    Simon Cottle, 'Beilby Enamelled Glass. A Family Reunited', Antique Collecting, June 2011, p.19, fig.

    Prince William V of Orange (Willem Batavus 1748-1806) was the last Stadtholder (Stadthouder) of the Dutch Republic. The son of William IV and Anne, daughter of King George II of Great Britain, William V attained his majority in 1766 and married Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia in 1767. His father died in 1751 and thus until the start of William's reign the United Provinces were ruled by Regency. Firstly, by the Dowager Princess Anne until her death in 1759, then by the Dowager Princess Marie Louis, his grandmother, from 1759 to her death in 1765 and lastly by his sister, Princess Carolina (who at the time was an adult aged 22 whilst William was a minor at 17) from 1765 to William's majority in 1766. William remained Stadtholder until 1795 when he was forced to flee the country, dying in Brunswick in 1806.

    Ward Lloyd op.cit., p.84 mentions that the goblet once belonged to the Nassau family. However, there is no documentary proof to support this.

    Of all Beilby enamelled goblets, the present lot is the largest example. It emerges from a small group of enamelled glass with Royal coats of arms. Whilst in the canon of Beilby heraldic glasses over 90 examples are recorded, only 16 bear the rare personal signature of William Beilby or simply Beilby. The majority of royal examples are decorated with the Royal arms of George III, King of Great Britain. These include a decanter and nine opaque-twist goblets with bucket-shaped bowls of which four are signed.

    Of the corpus of recorded heraldic glasses eight include 'Newcastle' in the signature. In six of these examples Newcastle has been shortened to NCastle. Only a punchbowl, dated 1765, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the present lot bear the full spelling of the town's name.

    Together with the present lot there are six light-baluster wine glasses painted with coats of arms and three painted with fruiting vine in white enamel. Six of these nine glasses are of typical size (approximately 18cm high)and the majority have a very similar round funnel bowl and an almost identical stem form suggesting that they were made in one location. Including the present lot, three of these armorial examples have direct Dutch associations – one with the arms accollés of Prince William V and Princess Wilhelmina, dated to 1767-70 (in the Kaplan Collection, Washington), the other bearing the crest of the Tilly family of Haarlem, the reverse painted with a dove and engraved with the arrows crest of the Seven United Provinces (in the Durrington Collection). The remaining identifiable armorial examples are those of Scottish families – Paton of Ferrochie (Museum of London) and Yeoman of Dryburgh (Private Collection). A sixth example, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, formerly in the collection of William Buckley, bears what is currently considered to be a fictitious coat of arms which includes a goblet overflowing with grapes and a male figure holding a vine axe. It is signed Beilby pinxt. The reverse is decorated with a classical ruin in opaque-white enamel. According to Buckley, in his article, 'Anglo-Dutch Glasses of the XVIIIth Century', Old Furniture (July 1928), p.155, the author significantly mentions that he acquired this glass in Holland.

    The Van Dongen Goblet (representing an Amsterdam family), unsigned but attributed to the Beilby Workshop (in the Pilkington Museum of Glass, St.Helens), is the only other heraldic goblet with a Dutch connection. It has a generous round funnel bowl in a distinctly Dutch style.

    Three light baluster goblets of similar size and style, painted in opaque-white enamels with fruiting vine and each with a gilt rim, can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum (c.625/1936), illustrated by Rush (1973), p.57, no.33b, in the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (Nr.4980.86/M), and in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, illustrated Rush (1973), p.52, no.28.

    Beilby armorial light-baluster wine glasses or goblets closely follow the Dutch tradition for engraved lead crystal examples. Traditionally using either the copper-wheel or diamond-point techniques and bearing the Royal coats of arms in celebration or commemoration of William IV, Princess Anne, King George II, Prince William V and Princess Wilhelmina, amongst other subjects, they are found in large quantities in collections in Holland and elsewhere. Several notable Dutch engravers, such as Jacob Sang, Alius and David Wolff, added to this prodigious production (see those Royal examples sold in these Rooms, 15 December 2010, lot 220 signed and dated by Jacob Sang, 1765, 16 December 2009, lots 169 and 170, 19 May 2010, lot 133 and that by David Wolff, 17 December 2008, lot 444).

    As discussed by Catherine Ross, 'The Flint Glass Houses on the Rivers Tyne and Wear during the Eighteenth Century', Glass Circle Journal No.5 (1986), pp.79-81, it would appear that there were no significant exports of fine glass from the Newcastle glasshouses to Holland in the 1760s. It is generally accepted that the light-baluster wine glass was probably manufactured either in London or most likely in Holland where lead-glass is now known to have been made. Therefore, those light-baluster glasses decorated by the Beilbys may have been imported from Holland or possibly produced by a London or Newcastle glasshouse in imitation of the Dutch. Large engraved goblets not dissimilar to the Prince William V Goblet - some with covers - in museums in Holland are attributed to England. It may be possible that some of this glass was manufactured in London or Newcastle. Nonetheless, the circumstantial evidence would strongly support a Dutch attribution for the majority of these glasses, especially as drinking glasses with covers were in general rarely made in England and are far more commonplace in Continental Europe.
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