A rare English silver wine taster from 1801
English wine tasters made before the 20th century are very seldom seen - quite unlike their French counterparts. There are probably less than 40 known examples.
This one was made in 1801 by Thomas Phipps & Edward Robinson who specialised in high quality small objects including wine labels. This taster is made in Britannia standard silver - that is, it is 95.84% silver (sterling standard is 92.5%) which is unusual. It is also an extra large size - most English tasters are about 4" diameter or slightly less - this is about an inch (2.5 cm) larger.
English wine tasters follow the Bordeaux model - which is not surprising as Bordeaux is the principal city of Aquitaine which was ruled by the British for three centuries during the mediaeval period. The Burgundian and Parisian models are quite different in shape.
Around the outside of the rim is engraved " R Frend Canterbury 1802". Richard Frend (sic) was Mayor of Canterbury in 1803 and again in 1833. He was a wine merchant, and one can presume his taster reflected his wish to do things on a large scale, and in high quality!
This taster is in fine condition without any restoration or significant dinks or other wear. It is an exceptional piece.