A 17th Century Commonwealth Wine Goblet

A 17th Century Commonwealth Wine Goblet

Commonwealth, London, 1655
Maker’s mark of I.G, mullet below is attributed to John Gray

Height: 17 cm, 6.7 in
Weight: 311 g, 10 oz

Commonwealth silver wine goblet, with slightly flared bowl, and knopped stem. Decorated with pin-pricked engraved initials to the side ‘L over WM’ for the husband and wife.
Occurrences of mark:
1654/5 Goblet Christies 1950
1655/6 Cup Jackson 1989
1657/8 Wine Cup Christies 1966
1657/8 Two-handled cup Mus. Of Fine Arts Boston
1657/8 Church Plate Jackson 1989

John GRAY (free 1647, died c.1687)

John, son of John Gray of Weeke, Dorset, yeoman, was apprenticed to the plateworker John Hill for eight years from May Day 1639, becoming free by service on 7 May 1647. He had a number of pieces of plate broken by the Wardens, incurring significant fines: for example, in 1652, seventeen beer bowls and two wine the bodies standard, but the potkins 1 oz worse than standard and filled with solder, for which offence he was fined 40s, reduced to 1os as it was his 'first fault'. In 1660, he was fined 5s for a bowl and a similar amount in 1666 for ten cups, cans. Apart from his trade as a silversmith, he also developed a retail trade and from 1669 most of his fines were for jewellery and smallwares. Nonetheless, in March 1671, John Sutton complained to the Wardens of a bowl with Mr Grayes mark upon it, unduly charged in the potkin & the bottomplate': presumably John Gray.

In 1652, he had signed the Petition to Parliament of divers members against the present Government of the Company', although the next year he took the first step to climb the hierarchy of the Company by becoming a Liveryman. Subsequently, he served as Renter Warden in 1668, Assistant in 1670, Touchwarden in 1672 and Second Warden in 1679. He was recorded in Leadenhall Street in 1669, when he had some hoop rings and money boxes taken in a search. By 1677, he had moved to Fenchurch Street, in the parish of St Dionis Backchurch, where his daughter Rebecca was buried in 1675, and his wife Sara three years later. He bound nine apprentices in all and was present in January 1681 when the last of them, Joseph Brandon, became free. Gray stopped attending the regular meetings of the Court of Assistants during that and appears to have retired from active trade,  as he did not strike his mark on the 1682 Mark Plate. He was dismissed from the Livery by James II on 25 September 1687 along with many of his colleagues, but was not among those reinstated, so he may have died at about that time.

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