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The Culloden Beaker: a Louis XX silver beaker taken at the Battke of Culloden>
 
 
The Culloden Beaker

A Louis XV silver beaker taken at the Battle of Culloden in 1746
Rochfort, 1742–3, maker’s mark of Jean Tostée I or II

Of bell-shaped form on everted foot rim, the side engraved with a coat of arms and crest within a foliate scroll cartouche, the foot engraved TAKEN AT THE BATLE OF COLODEN APRL. YE 16TH 1746, engraved under the base with the script initials R*K

Marked under base with hallmarks (town mark ROCH under a crowned Z, standard mark a crowned fleur de lis) and with maker’s mark IT crowned with mullet below and sprig between

Height: 3 in. (7.6 cm) Weight: 2 oz. 11 dwt. (79 g)

Provenance
Lieutenant Richard Knight, Wolfe’s Regiment, 1746; Major J.M. Milne Davidson, sale, Sotheby’s, London, February 21, 1952, lot 29, Thomas Lumley Ltd., London, a Connecticut collector until 1999, Roy Tiley, London (†2003)

Published
Robin Butler, The Albert Collection: Five Hundred Years of British and European Silver, 2004, p. 115, no. 791

This is one of only three silver relics from the Battle of Culloden to be recorded: the other two are Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s canteen, made by Ebenezer Oliphant of Edinburgh, in the National Museum of Scotland, and a French silver knife, fork and spoon which also belonged to the prince, now in a private collection.

Richard Knight served as Lieutenant in Wolfe’s Regiment in the Duke of Cumberland’s campaign in 1745–46. This beaker was evidently taken from a French soldier at the battle: a contingent of French troops had landed shortly after the prince’s arrival in Scotland, and accompanied him on his march to Derby and back to the Highlands. Rochefort is further down the Atlantic coast of France from St Nazaire, whence the prince and his followers set sail for Scotland in June 1745.

The style of the engraving of the coat of arms and the initials on the base is Scottish, and suggests that Knight may have had the beaker engraved in Edinburgh en route home. Major James Milne Davidson was a prominent collector of Scottish silver and Jacobite relics. He was instrumental in organizing the exhibition of Scottish Art and Antiquities held in London in 1931. Following his death in 1952, his collections were sold at Sotheby’s. A number of his swords are now in the National Museum of Scotland.

Jean Tostée I was admitted to the guild in Rochefort in 1731 and died in 1763; his son, Jacques II was admitted in 1741.

 

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