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Antique Victorian Solid Silver Figural Comports, Hunt & Roskell, Circa 1874

Antique Victorian Solid Silver Figural Comports, Hunt & Roskell, Circa 1874

Antique Victorian Solid Silver Figural Comports, Hunt & Roskell, Circa 1874


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About this item

Antique 19th century magnificent and unique pair of Victorian solid silver figural comports, each piece raised on a circular domed base chased and applied with swags and cast armorials, each stunning figural stems modelled like a large sculptural female figure, one holding a pickaxe, the other resting on a bundle and holding a scroll, the two figures are flanked by a scrolling handle suspending a bowl over their head. The two classical figures are both allegories celebrating human virtues, in this case most probably "LABOR" (work) and "VERITAS" (truth). Each silver bowl is chased with scrolls on a matted ground and fitted with large cut-glass bowls.
This pair features an outstanding quality, and is a unique set of historic relevance. The two bases are applied with armorials, one cast in relief "DURHAM 1875", the other with the family crest of Sir George Elliot, 1st Baronet (please see "Fairbairn's Book of Crests" p. 185), with the Latin motto relating to the figural allegories (the two pieces are designed and produced on commission for a special occasion). Sir George Elliot was a self-made businessman and a Conservative Party Member of Parliament. He was created a baronet in 1874, and advised Benjamin Disraeli to invest in the Suez Canal. He was also the financial advisor to the Egyptian Khedive (the viceroy under the Ottomans) and received an honour from the King of Portugal. He was also president of Durham University Society and in 1876 he was Provincial Grand Master of the Freemasons (for more information please follow this link)
The pair is in fact part of a larger table service presented to Sir George Elliot in occasion of the "Grand banquet and testimonial to Sir George Elliot", held at the city of Durham, March 31, 1875. The event is recorded in the "Historical register of remarkable events which have occurred in Northumberland and Durham (...)", 1867, pp. 307-310 (please follow this link to read the full text). The total cost of the service, originally composing of 10 pieces, was over 2000 guineas. The pair is part of a set of four dessert dishes flanking the central piece, and the set was published on The Illustrated London News, 15 May 1875 (please follow this link). Follow this link to a larger picture, the pair is visible flanking the central centrepiece.
Each part is fully Hallmarked English Silver (925 standard), London, year 1874 (t), Maker's mark crowned IH & RR (John Hunt & Robert Roskell, Hunt & Roskell, successors of the Paul Storr firm, the most important English Royal silversmiths of all time). Each base is further stamped with the retailer's mark "HUNT & ROSKELL, LATE STORR, MORTIMER & HUNT". In Great Condition - no damage. Wear consistent with age and use. Total silver weight 3345g.

Additional dimensions information:

Dm 30 cm


W30.0 x H34.5 cm



Wear condition



John Hunt & Robert Roskell

Date of manufacture


Place of origin

United Kingdom




19th Century


VAT status

Seller is VAT registered


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