navigation Browse Blog

koopman rare art

John Sutton An Early English Chinoiserie Tankard

Charles II, London, 1685
Maker's mark of John Sutton

Height: 20.5 cm, 8 in. 
Weight: 1076 g, 34 oz 11 dwt


Register / login as a Koopman Rare Art Member HERE to reveal additional information and prices


Swiss private collection.


David M. Mitchell, Silversmiths in Elizabethan and Stuart London, p.399

Silversmith Biography

Son of Thomas Sutton of Brignelt in the County of York gentleman, apprenticed to John Winterton 8 February 1661. Free, 19 February 1668. Livery, September 1674. Warden 1696, 1701, 1703. Prime Warden, 1707. His mark is the first entered in the largewrokers' book started April 1697, and is awarded the distinction of a large ornamental script as 'present Touchwarden', 15 April 1697. Address: Lombard Street. Heal records show him as platewroker, parish of St. Mary Woolnoth, 1674-1707. The register of that church contain entries for the burial of Ann, daughter of John Sutton, goldsmith, 25 January 1680, and the baptisms of two sons, John and Thomas and three daughters Sarah and two further Anns, from 1683 to 1693. Sutton was signatory of the Committee Report on the present state of the Goldsmiths' Company, 29 April 1708, towards the end of his year as Prime Warden, when he was about sixty.


This Charles II chinoiserie tankard is a very rare model in terms of decoration as it was made by a maker specialising in chinoiserie embellished items. David Mitchell’s volume lists a number of cups and porringers marked by this maker, but tankards and flagons seem to be the most popular choice for such a fashionable and highly executed decoration.

Chinoiserie decoration at this period is normally thought of as being flat chased but the technique used here is a mixture of both embossing and flat chasing as well as fine mat work, making this tankard a far more expensive example at the time and an exceptionally historical piece today.

It displays a highly refined execution at the highest moment of the chinoiserie trend, normally considered to be between 1682 and 1690.

A Charles II Provincial Silver Tankard
Mark of John Dowthwaite (Maker's Mark only, struck once in cover, once on handle and twice on base) Newcastle, Circa 1670.
Provenance: Koopman Rare Art, Private Collection.

A further example of a 17th Century tankard with an embossed decoration is a piece made in Newcastle and dating from circa 1670. It bears the mark of John Dowthwaite and is decorated with putti within a naturalistic background.

The comparison between these two examples, both exceptionally executed, shows that the use of various techniques normally associated with Victorian items, was also adopted as a more refined option in the 17th Century.


An Early English Chinoiserie Tankard Reference: 23487.2