11th Oct, 2023 11:00

Silver and Objects of Vertu

Lot 400

A rare William III Irish silver tankard, Dublin 1701 by Thomas Bolton (active 1686-1736)

A rare William III Irish silver tankard, Dublin 1701 by Thomas Bolton (active 1686-1736)

Of tapering cylindrical form with moulded rims, the C scroll handle with a shield shape terminal, the moulded and rat tail hinge section leading to a domed and flat top hinged lid raised by a sand cast corkscrew thumbpiece, the front of lid with a shaped apron and incised concentric circles. Fully marked to the right of handle and the front of thumbpiece, the handle apparently unmarked.

Height – 17.8 cm / 7.05 inches

Weight – 700 grams / 22.51 ozt


Sweeney, T., (1995), Irish Stuart Silver., Dublin: Edmund Burke Publishers. p.130 “930. Tankard (Ht: 7 1/8”. Wt: 28 ozs 6 dwts). Dublin maker – Thomas Bolton. Provenance Sold at Sotheby's Sussex, 17/12/1982 – lot 1814 - £650”

Thence by descent from the above purchase

Sweeny list a total of 78 tankards for the Stuart period in Ireland (James I to Queen Anne), this tankard being the 44th. The earliest uncontested Dublin example being 1671 by Jospeh Stoaker or John Slicer. Many of the 78 Irish Stuart tankards listed were provincial made. This tankard appears to be the earliest known by Thomas Bolton, whereby about 1705 the style had changed to be a domed topped lid. Another Irish Stuart period tankard, not in Sweeney’s list, of 1699 by David King (the handle by Jospeh Walker) was sold Christie’s London, 12 April 2018, lot 212 (£10,000 incl. prem). A tankard of Dublin 1679 by James Kelly was sold Sotheby’s London, The Family Collection of the late Countess Mountbatten of Burma, March 24 2021, lot 207 (£9430 incl. prem).

Bolton was apprenticed to Gerard Grace in 1676, free in 1686, warden in 1690, assay master 1692-7, lord Mayor of Dublin in 1716, died in 1736.

Bolton is regarded as the most significant silversmith active in the late 17th and early 18th century in Dublin. His most significant work to come for sale this century is the Coghill montieth, of 1696-98, sold Christie’s The Collection of David and Peggy Rockefeller, New York, 10 May 2018, lot 691 ($137,500 incl. prem)

Other Stewart period holloware by Bolton:

1694, a twin handled cup, sold Bonham’s Knightsbridge, 4 Feb 2009, lot 281 (£23,400 incl. prem)

1694, a pair of toilet boxes, sold Bonham’s New Bond Street, 30 June 2010, lot 318 (£7200 incl. prem)

1694, a footed salver, sold Chorley’s 13 Oct 2015, lot 148 (£3500 hammer)

1696-98, a pair of peppers, sold Sotheby’s London, 1 Nov 2018, Lot 605 (£10,000 incl. prem)

1696-98, a twin handled porringer and cover, sold Sotheby’s Charles L. Poor collection, New York 26 Oct 2005

c.1700, a pair of toilet canisters, sold Christie’s London 4 June 2019, lot 256 (£4375 incl. prem)

1701, a toilet box, sold Bonham’s New Bond Street, 23 Nov 2011, lot 253 (£2,750 incl. prem)

1706, a footed salver, sold 1818 Auctioneers, 13 Jan 2022, lot 21 (£3000 hammer)

1708 a sugar bowl base, sold Rosebery’s 24 May 2023, lot 9 (£1820 incl. prem)

Sold for £5,000

Includes Buyer's Premium


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