Ewer and Basin
Date: About 1580 - 1600
Materials and Techniques: Silver-gilt
Dimensions: Ewer: Height 29.2cm Basin: Diameter 53.3 cm
Museum Number: Compton Verney, CVCSC 0253.1 & 2.N
This silver moulded basin and ewer (or jug) were designed to be used at very important banquets. The ewer would be filled with water, which would be poured into the bowl so that guests could wash their hands before and after eating. These expensive and decorative objects must have been owned by a wealthy family. The silver has been covered with a layer of gold to make it even more precious. These were such important items that, when the basin and ewer were not in use, they would be displayed on the buffet at the side of the room.
Closer inspection reveals that the designs on the objects tell stories from the Old Testament of the Bible, including Rebecca and Elijah at the Well and The Sacrifice of Isaac. The ewer has a beautiful handle in the shape of a dragon; perhaps this could be a heraldic symbol linked to the family who owned the items or it may just be decorative.