The ewer and basin are made of gold, the ewer heavily decorated with applied strap work. The ewer would have held liquid, perhaps fragranced rose water poured over the hands into the basin as part of the formal ritual of dining.
Platel & Gentot were French Huguenots, driven from France when tolerance towards Protestants ended. Many skilled artists and crafts people came to England, settling in London in the 1690’s and bringing with them new ideas and skills.
This ewer and basin were made for William, 1st Duke of Devonshire and remain with the family by descent.
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