Early Victorian Scottish Sterling Silver Piggin - 1838
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Description:- An early Victorian Scottish sterling silver Piggin, Edinburgh, 1838. The Piggin is of tapering cylindrical form with two bands of incised coopered lines, with twin Hammer form handles. There are traces of gilding to the interior. It is engraved with the initials "AG" to the front in cursive script flourished, with a presentation inscription to the underside, “To Agnes Gladstone from her Grandfather, Robt. Strong, 1838” in Gothic script with cursive flourishes. The Piggin is a traditional Scottish drinking vessel. Originally used for drinking, later 19th century examples became multipurpose in function such as for serving butter or sugar. It is hallmarked near to the handle stamped Edinburgh, 1838, with the maker’s mark rubbed.
The Agnes Gladstone mentioned is likely to be that of Agnes Gladstone (1838-1850) daughter of Lawrence Gladstone Esq. who is buried along with her brother Thomas (1840-1850) having both drowned during the sinking of the Steamship Orion off Port Patrick Wigtownshire, Dumfries and Galloway June 18th 1850. The grave they are buried in is also inscribed “Sacred to the memory of Robert Strong merchant of Leith who died at Liverpool 7th July 1840 Aged 52 years.”
On 17th June 1850 the ‘Orion’ left Liverpool for Glasgow with 37 crew and 160 passengers on board. Early the next morning, navigating in a thick mist, she struck a submerged rock just off the entrance to Portpatrick Harbour. A huge hole was torn in two of the ship’s watertight compartments and her bulkhead was also badly damaged. Three lifeboats were launched but two capsized in the panic to evacuate the ship. The ‘Orion’ sank before she could be reached by rescue boats and at least 41 passengers lost their lives.
A memorial to the drowned passengers can be seen built into the wall of Portpatrick old churchyard. Many of the dead were Methodist ministers from Lancashire and Cheshire who had been traveling to a conference in Glasgow. The tragedy was blamed on two of the ‘Orion’s’ officers. Her master, Captain Henderson, was found guilty of neglecting his duty and spent 18 months in Perth prison. The second mate was sentenced to be transported to Australia for seven years.
Assay:- .925 (Sterling silver).
Period:- Mid 19th century.
Maker:- The makers mark is unattributed.
Engraving:- Engraved "AG" to the front; and “To Agnes Gladstone from her Grandfather, Robt. Strong, 1838” to the underside.
Measurement:- 14.3cm (length between handles) x 6.6cm (height) x 10.5cm (bowl diameter).
Weight:- 212.1 grams.
Condition:- The Piggin is in good antique condition. A few minor pin-prick dings, light surface scratches, marks, and tarnishing commensurate with age. The hallmarks are partially rubbed. There are no splits, repairs, or dents. Please see photos for confirmation of condition.
Item no:- 1648_wal1.
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