List Price £45,000
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By Carrington & Co (English, founded 1873) | Lionel Alfred Crichton (English, fl. late 19th Century-early 20th Century) | Richard Comyns (English, fl. early 20th Century)
Large silver toilet services like this were treasured possessions, which contained all the powders, pastes and scents a noblewoman needed to dress for high society.
This toilet service is made up of an impressive twenty-six pieces of silver, all fully hallmarked. These include a table mirror with an easel back, a hand-held mirror, two candlesticks, and four brushes – two for clothes, two for hair, one for sweeping away dust and the other for cleaning combs. There is also a large box for storing gloves, hair combs, cosmetics or jewels, and a pin cushion, for hair and wig pins. The two pairs of smaller boxes were designed to contain cosmetics, powders or ribbons, and the two pairs of jars with stoppers (one pair with glass inserts) would have stored scents and liquid based facial and hair cosmetics. This is true also of the two small covered jars. The pair of twin-handled covered bowls may have been used to serve food (such as breakfast porridge) to guests, possibly presented on the two dishes.
Grand silver toilet services like this were often displayed in a noblewoman’s day bedroom or state bedchamber, where she would receive guests. The set was often laid out on a lace toile, and the mirror finely draped, like the canopy over the bed. The toilet service was not only a functional piece of design, but also an impressive display of wealth and status.
In the style of late 17th-Century toilet services, this set is beautifully engraved in the Chinoiserie style. It depicts Chinese figures and animals within garden landscapes, inspired by the images of the Orient that became popular, in the late 17th Century, following European trade with the Far East.
This silver toilet service was collaboratively produced by three prestigious London-based silversmiths. Carrington & Co crafted twelve pieces in 1914-1916, Richard Comyns made three items in 1933, and Lionel Alfred Crichton created eleven between 1935-1938. The service is based on an assembled example made in London between 1673-1682, now held in the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Mirror: Height 51cm, 33cm, 28cm
Candlesticks: Height 18cm, 11cm, 11cm
'English, Irish and Scottish Silver at the Sterling and Francine Art Institute' by Beth Carver Wees, New York, 1997, no. 397
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