Although a cake basket was meant for serving cake, fruit, or other dry delicacies, this example is far more extravagant than the task at hand. It is a bravura example of what a silversmith could do to metal in the 18th century. Augustine Courtauld was a prominent member of a group of Huguenot silversmiths who immigrated to London after 1685, when Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, which protected the religious and personal freedom of French Protestants. Courtauld was brought to England as an infant, was apprenticed to the distinguished Huguenot silversmith Simon Pantin in 1701, and went on to establish a dynasty of talented London silversmiths. Courtauld raised the body of the basket from a single piece of silver, then pierced the rim and bowl with patterns of crosses and swirls. The grapevine border, paw feet, and handle were cast separately and then applied. An engraver added the owner’s coat of arms to the inside of the bowl. The end result is a sophisticated, yet playful, addition to an English tea table.


Cataloguing data may change with further research.

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Artist
Augustine Courtauld, French, 1685–1751, active England
Title
Cake Basket
Date
1743–1744
Medium
Sterling silver
Dimensions
Overall: 11 1/2 × 15 5/8 × 13 5/8 in. (29.2 × 39.7 × 34.6 cm)
Credit Line

Gift of George S. Heyer, Jr. in honor of my daughter, Jennifer Parmelee Heyer

Current Location
Rienzi
RIENZI DINING ROOM
Accession Number
2002.3463
Classification
Metalwork
Provenance

Probably a member of the Wordsworth family; Collection of R.W. Lloyd; Dr. George S. Heyer, Jr., 1966.