A Charles II silver-gilt State Cup and Stand by Thomas Jenkins, London 1672/3
Lot 125
A Charles II silver-gilt State Cup and Stand
by Thomas Jenkins, London 1672/3
£ 40,000 - 50,000
US$ 54,000 - 67,000

Lot Details
Antique Silver
A Charles II silver-gilt State Cup and Stand by Thomas Jenkins, London 1672/3 A Charles II silver-gilt State Cup and Stand by Thomas Jenkins, London 1672/3 A Charles II silver-gilt State Cup and Stand by Thomas Jenkins, London 1672/3 A Charles II silver-gilt State Cup and Stand by Thomas Jenkins, London 1672/3 A Charles II silver-gilt State Cup and Stand by Thomas Jenkins, London 1672/3
A Charles II silver-gilt State Cup and Stand
by Thomas Jenkins, London 1672/3
Each piece finely chased and embossed with Dutch blooms and scrolling foliage embellished with matted/frosted stippling; cup with acanthus leaf-capped scroll handles and having a separate cover applied with cone and acanthus finial, the tazza and cup are both engraved with the coat of arms of Spark to one side and those of the City of Plymouth opposite, weight 77oz.


  • The arms are those of Spark and the town of Plymouth.

    Provenance: John Sparke of the Friary, Plymouth; thence by descent to Lt. Col. Sir Arscott Molesworth-St. Aubyn Bt., sale, Sotheby's, 10th November, 1994, lot 208

    Holburne of Menstrie Museum, Bath, 1998-2012
    Literature: R. N. North, Calendar of the Plymouth Municipal Records, Plymouth, 1893. Receivers' Book – No. IV, p. 169

    The Family

    John Sparke (1636-80) belonged to a prominent Plymouth family and was descended from John Spearke of Nantwich, Cheshire, who arrived in Devon in the mid sixteenth century. He was the eldest son of Jonathan Sparke and married in 1663 Mary, daughter of Sir Alexander Carew, Bt. The family was politically active. His grandfather, also John, had been mayor of Plymouth in 1583 and 1591 and he himself was MP for the borough from 1677 until his death. The cup and stand, pricked with his family arms and those of the city, was presented to him by the corporation and is recorded in the council minutes for 1679/80 as follows: '£37 10s paid for a "large silver salver Cawdle Cupp and cover embost and thick washed with gold" weighing 75 ounces, given to John Spark one of the burgesses, "in token of the Respect and Gratitude of this Town for his faithfull and diligent service."'
    The cup almost certainly came into the Molesworth family a generation after John Sparke. The pedigree for the Sparke family after the seventeenth century has not been published, but the will of William Sparke of the Friary, Plymouth (d. 1714), presumably John's son, made John Molesworth of Pencarrow, Cornwall, his principal legatee. William Sparke was a wealthy man, leaving monetary bequests of nearly £10,000 to various individuals but most of his estate, including his 'plate, jewels, household goods and other goods and chattels' to his godson John Molesworth (1668-1723). The latter succeeded his father as third baronet in 1716 and thereafter the cup descended though twelve generations of the family until it sale by Sir Arscott Molesworth-St Aubyn, 15th baronet, in 1994.
    The Sparke and Molesworth families were connected through the marriage of the first baronet, Hender Molesworth (d. 1689), to John Sparke's cousin, Mary. William Sparke's will states that he was childless and was 'the last of his name and family in that place [Plymouth]'. At the time his will was drawn up he was living at Pencarrow. Sir Hender Molesworth had an adventurous and enterprising career and life peaking as Governor of Jamaica.

    Etymology of State Cup

    'State Cup' is not term that is often used in today, however, in the 17th century Samuel Pepys makes a number of references to his silver cup and cover in his journals/diaries:-

    Entry 4-7-1660. (p192)
    "Thence to Mr Bakewells the goldsmith, where I took my Lord's 100/ in plate for Mr Secretary Nicholas, and my own piece of plate, being a state-dish and cup in chased work, for Mr Coventry; cost me 19l"

    Entry 29-12-60 (p324)
    "Thence I to Alderman Backwells and a took brave State-plate and Cupp in lieu of Candlesticks that I had the other day, and carried them by coach to my Lord's"

    Entry 10-2-63 (p39)
    "This evening Sir W. Warren came himself to the door and left a letter and a box we find a pair of plain white gloves for my hand and a fair State-dish of silver and cup with my arms ready-cut upon them, worth I believe about 18/- which is a very noble present and the best I ever had yet."

    The silversmith

    Thomas Jenkins was apprenticed to John Seale and was a Freeman of the Butchers' Company. There isn't a lot of information on Jenkins as he wasn't a Freeman of the Goldsmiths' Company, but his name appears several times in the Court Minutes of the Company. He is also mentioned in the apprentice register as having employed the apprentices Abraham Loader and Jacob Margas. Several sources record Jenkins as established in Essex Street, Strand. It is known that he was active by 1668 as the earliest recorded object bearing his mark is a peg-tankard made in that year. Here again he appears to be have been influenced by the Scandinavian style. Over a hundred pieces are attributed to Thomas Jenkins these range from tankards, cagework cups, bowls, candlesticks, toilet pieces, etc to grand display pieces. Two maker's marks are attributed to him for the period of 1668-1696 (Jackson's p128). He also entered a new mark for the introduction of the Britannia Standard (Jackson's p154). His sponsor's mark is already found on some silver pieces in his early years, sometimes over-striking the maker's mark and when his production declines during the 1690's he acts mainly as a retailer. Jenkins continued working up until 1705 silver, and died shortly afterwards. He was buried in St Clement Dane's around 1707 (1706-7 according to Grimwade and Banister's article, 1707-8 (according to Timothy Schroder).

    The engraving:-
    It is interesting to note this unusual style of engraving on both pieces as it would appear to be a sophisticated and built up version of prick-dot engraving which can be seen mainly on West Country silver. The engraving shows tinctures which is unusual. This shading in engraved armorials would appear to be the influence of Marcus Vulson de la Colombiere. Some authors have named de la Colombiere as the inventor of this system of tinctures.

    A Grimwade & J Banister, "Thomas Jenkins unveiled, a leading Caroline Goldsmith," Connoisseurs, July 1977, p175, nr 6.
    A Grimwade & J. Banister, "A case of mistaken identity, Thomas Jenkins," The Proceedings of the Society of Silver collectors, vol II, 1966-7 to 1978-9.
    Timothy Schroder, British and Continental Gold and Silver in the Ashmolean Museum, Vol. III p1250.
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