An interesting leather blackjack, possibly 17th century
Lot 322
An interesting leather blackjack, possibly 17th century
Sold for £ 1,500 (US$ 1,976) inc. premium

The Oak Interior

18 Oct 2012, 11:00 BST


Lot Details
An interesting leather blackjack, possibly 17th century
An interesting leather blackjack, possibly 17th century
Of typical form with stitched loop handle and footrim, the body applied with an oval silver mount engraved with the shield, crest and motto of BARRINGTON, baronets of Barrington Hall, Essex (the baronetcy denoted by the hand in the upper corner square), the silver mount to rim with lambrequin lower edge, the hinged lid with thumbpiece probably later inset with a polished silver medal of 1658, struck to the obverse with the bust of Oliver Cromwell, left, laureate, hair long, in plain falling collar and armour, and with the legend 'OLIVAR . D . G . EP . ANG . SCO . HIBERNIÆ . PROTECTOR', and to the reverse with an olive-tree, near which a shepherd attends his flock, in the distance, other trees and buildings, and with the legend 'NON . DEFITIENT . OLIVA . SEP . 3 . 1658' (They [the people] shall not lack an olive-tree. 3 Sep. 1658), and probably later engraved to the top of the lid 'I intended not only to oblige My friends but Mine Enimies [sic] Also Exceeding even the desires of those that were factiously discontented if they did not but pretend to any modest and sober scence [sic]', and engraved to the edge of the rim 'As the sins of our peace disposed us to this Unhappy War so let this War prepare us for thy blessed Peace. Barrington', the medal 47cm diameter; the blackjack 20cm high to top of rim, 22.5cm high to top of thumbpiece


  • The Barrington Family of Barrington Hall, Hatfield Broad Oak, Essex:

    The Barrington family held property in Essex from the early 13th century, and from 1572 frequently represented the county in Parliament.

    The first Baronet, Francis (b. ca. 1570 - 1628), a lawyer and politician, was knighted on the accession of King James I in 1603 and in 1604 elected MP for Essex. He was called to the bar by Gray's Inn in either 1605 or 1606. On 29 June 1611 he was made a baronet, of Barrington Hall, in Hatfield Broad Oak, County Essex, in the newly elected Baronetage of England. He was re-elected MP for Essex several times in the 1620s, and sat until his death in 1628.

    Barrington married Joan Cromwell, daughter of Sir Henry Cromwell and sister to Oliver Cromwell's father Robert, and Barrington was therefore uncle by marriage to the future Lord Protector, with whom subsequent generations of his family were associated in the 1630s, 1640s and 1650s.

    The second Baronet, Sir Thomas (d. 1644), was knighted circa 1621. He was elected as MP for Newtown and sat at various times until 1629 from whence King Charles I ruled without Parliament for eleven years. In April 1640 he was elected MP for Essex in the Short Parliament, and MP for Colchester for the Long Parliament. He opposed the Stuart monarchy. He died in 1644.

    It was his son, Sir John (1605 - 1683), the third Baronet, who lived through both the Civil War, the Commonwealth period (1649 - 1652) and the Protectorate (1653 - 1658) which followed it, and is most closely associated with the Parliamentary cause, sitting on various commissions for defence, sequestrations and New Model ordinance. On the strength of this association, he was nominated to be one of the High Court judges in the trial of King Charles I in 1649, but refused to attend its meetings and declined to sign the warrant for the King's execution. Despite this refusal, he was not removed from the Commission of the Peace until 1653, when he was imprisoned in the Fleet for his father's debts. He did not resume his seat in Parliament until the accession of Charles II in 1660, perhaps suggesting that whilst he had supported the Parliamentary cause during the Civil War, he was not wholeheartedly in sympathy with the Commonwealth or the Protectorate, despite serving as High Sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire in 1654 and 1655.


    The medal inset into the lid of this jack is, or is after, one of a type struck to commemorate the death of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, who died on 3rd September 1658, the date of the legend to its reverse. Many of these medals were struck on the Continent, in Holland and the Netherlands, to supply collectors, who were unable to procure the more valuable one designed by Thomas Simon.


    Both lines of text engraved to the lid are taken from Eikon Basilike: The Pourtrature of His Sacred Majestie in His Solitudes and Sufferings, a book purporting to be the spiritual autobiography of King Charles I of England. It was published on February 9, 1649, ten days after the King was beheaded, and urges the forgiveness of Charles's executioners, but predominantly seeks to justify royalism and the King's political and military program that led to the Civil War.

    It was said to have been compiled by the King himself, though it was probably written by Doctor John Gauden based upon the King's papers. First published in February 1649, Eikon Basilike proved extremely popular and ran to thirty-six editions and as such was a master-stroke of royalist propaganda. It presented the dead King as a victim of tyranny and a Christian martyr. Other tributes soon followed, in which explicit parallels with the sufferings of Christ were drawn, leading to a Royalist cult of Charles the Martyr that helped sustain the Royalist cause during the Commonwealth and Protectorate years. John Milton wrote Eikonoklastes ("the image breaker") as a counterblast. This theological counterattack failed to dislodge the sentimental narrative of the Eikon itself from public esteem.
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