Peter Archambo

( Unknown - 1767 )

A George II Oval Basket

Peter Archambo

( Unknown - 1767 )

A George II Oval Basket

Made in London 1735
By Peter Archambo

Height: 25.3 cm (9 15/16 inches)
Width: 37.1 cm (14 5/8 inches)
Weight: 82 oz 10 dwt (2,565 g)

Arms and Motto of John Campbell, Second Duke of Argyll

The oval basket has flaring pierced sides imitating woven wicker. It rests on a plain moulded foot formed from seamed sheet. The base of the basket is plain, and an applied wire covers its juncture with the sides. The interlacing straps forming the sides of the basket are pierced and engraved. The flaring rim is bound with a thick applied band imitating wrapped wicker, and the edge of the basket is finished with applied twisted wire. The bail handle, cast and fabricated, is attached by two circular hinges supported on cast trefoils. The top of the handle is engraved with a basketweave pattern and encloses a cartouche.

The arms and motto of the dukes of Argyll, for John Campbell, Second Duke (1678-1743), and behind the arms, two honourable badges, one for the office of hereditary Great Master of the Household in Scotland, the other for the office of Lord Justice General of Scotland. The Garter motto and a monogram are engraved on the handle.


Peter Archambo’s mark appears on a wide range of plate that is generally sound in its construction if conservative in design. Among Archambo’s loyal clients was George Booth, Earl of Warrington, whose purchases for Dunham Massey are known in part through their remarkable survival and in part through the Earl’s meticulous inventory. A basket of 1730 at Dunham Massey that is marked by Archambo does not relate in design to this basket but follows almost precisely the design of a basket in this collection marked by David Willaume II. Pierced baskets imitating wickerwork much closer to the Duke of Argyll’s basket bear the marks of many different Huguenot makers, including Paul de Lamerie, John Hugh le Sage, David Willaume, and Aymé Videau. One shop may have specialised in fabricating certain models, which were subsequently marked by various members of the trade.

The second Duke of Argyll had a long and turbulent career in the military, a calling to which he is said to have been drawn to as a youth. He succeeded his father as Duke in 1703 and in 1705 was nominated Lord High Commissioner to the Scottish Parliament, where he was a passionate advocate of the union with England and a supporter of the Protestant line. He served during the War of Spanish Succession in Flanders in the campaign of 1706 with the Duke of Marlborough, a bitter rival. In 1712 he was appointed Commander in Chief of the forces of Scotland and was credited with a victory in 1715 against the Jacobite armies at Sherriffmuir, which greatly outnumbered him. In 1719 he was created first Duke of Greenwich. His favour at court was variable, but he was admired for his rhetorical powers and sincerity. His first wife, Mary, daughter of Thomas Browne, died in 1717, and he subsequently married Jane, daughter of Thomas Warburton, by whom he had five daughters. Argyll dies in 1743, and the duchess commissioned a grand monument to him for Westminster Abbey. Both John Michael Rysbrack and Louis-François Roubiliac submitted drawings and models for the project, which was awarded to Roubiliac; it was one of his first major commissions.

Miss Lucy Hope sold Christie’s, London, August 20, 1941, lot 81, purchased by Thomas Lumley, Ltd., London; Dr. Christophe Bernoulli, Basel, Switzerland, purchased November 13, 1958, Theodora Wilbour Fund in Memory of Charlotte Beebe Wilbour. Museum of Fine Arts Boston, (Ref. 58.1010).

Ellenor M. Alcorn, English Silver in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Vol. II, 2000. Pp. 138-139, No. 79.


The son of a Huguenot, Peter Archambo was the most distinguished apprentice of another Huguenot goldsmith, Jacob Margas. Apprenticed in 1710, Archambo was free of the Butchers' Company in December 1720 and entered his first mark three months later. His earliest address is not known but after 1739 his workshop was in Coventry Street, Piccadilly. Archambo produced plate of fine quality and, together with Paul Crespin, Charles Kandler, and Paul de Lamerie, introduced the rococo style of the 1730's. As the major supplier to George Booth, second earl of Warrington, he also produced a significant quantity of plain domestic plate. Archambo's work is notable for its French taste and plasticity. His career evidently brought his prosperity, since he was described in his will as a "gentleman"; he appears to have been able to retire by about 1750, after which little plate with his mark is known.

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