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The cistern rests on a domed spreading foot assembled of three raised sections chased with two horizontal bands of gadrooning, and above, a chased band of pendant, stylized leaves below a molded arcade. The bombé body of the vessel is raised from heavy sheet, with a chased border of stylized...

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ARMORIALS: Engraved on both cistern and fountain, the badge and motto of George, Prince of Wales, later George II, king of England (r. 1727-60); handles of the cistern and cover of the fountain modeled as the supporters and crest of the earls of Meath.


(Cistern) On rim of foot, date letter n; lion's head erased; Britannia; maker's mark WI (repeated on body to left of each handle). (fountain) On body to left of spout, maker's mark WI (Grimwade 3129) (repeated inside cover); Britannia; lion's head erased(repeated inside cover); date letter n. on front molding above lion, date letter n; lion's head erased; Britannia; maker's mark WI.


1708/1709, probably Chambre Brabazon (b. about 1645 - d. 1715), 5th Earl of Meath, Dublin, Ireland, and London [see note 1]. By 1727, George Augustus, Prince of Wales, later King George II of England (b. 1683- d. 1760; r. 1727-1760), Hanover [see note 2]; until 1990s, by inheritance within the family [see note 3]; 1990s, sold by the dukes of Brunswick to a private collection; 1999, sold by this private collection, through Sotheby's, New York, to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 23, 1999) NOTES: [1] The cistern and fountain were probably ordered by Chambre Brabazon in 1708/1709 to mark his succession to the peerage in 1707. [2] How and when the Prince of Wales acquired the cistern and fountain is not known, but before his accession in 1727 he had the engraved Meath armorials removed and replaced with his own motto and badge. It has been suggested that he acquired the set in 1717, the same year he commissioned a set of silver table wares and dining implements from London goldsmith Pierre Platel. See Ellenor M. Alcorn, "English Silver in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston," vol. 2, "Silver from 1697" (Boston: MFA Publications, 2000), pp. 72-75, cat. no. 20 and Tracey Albainy, "Hanoverian Royal Plate in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston," The Silver Society Journal, 14 (2002), pp. 14-17. [3] Upon the succession of Victoria as Queen of Great Britain in 1837, the thrones of Hanover and Great Britain split, owing to the laws of Hanover, and the silver collection passed to the Duke of Cumberland, who became the King of Hanover. On June 27, 1866, Hanover was annexed by Prussia, and the family assumed the title Dukes of Brunswick and Lüneberg, and moved to Cumberland Castle in Gmuden, Austria.

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously, Theodora Wilbour Fund in memory of Charlotte Beebe Wilbour, Harriet J. Bradbury Fund, and other funds, by exchange

English (London), 1708–09

Object Place

London, England


Cistern Dimensions: H. 66.04 x W. 114.3 x D. 68.58 cm (26 x 45 x 27 in.) Weight: (cistern) 1,775 oz 15 dwt Weight: (fountain) 1,049 oz 18 dwt

Accession Number


Medium or Technique