Principally sourced from the interiors of exotic shells, Indian mother-of-pearl was admired and sought after by Europeans, and imports sold at astronomical prices. Though some vessels worked by Gujarati craftsmen (from Western India) were kept in their original forms, others—such as this one—were carefully dismantled and their mother-of-pearl inlays set in new precious-metal mounts. The extremely delicate gilded silver foot and cover decorated with miniature heraldic roses locate this piece to Elizabethan London.
[Elizabeth Cleland, 2017]
Marking:  RW, pellet below, in a shaped shield (maker's mark);  Leopard's head crowned (London assay affice mark);  Lion passant (English quality mark for sterling);  N in pointed shield (date letter for 1590–91).
Location of marks: – on foot rim, on upper collar of cup, on cover near pedestal for finial
F.J. C. Holdsworth ; George A. Lockett (until 1960; sale, Sotheby's, London, March 24, 1960, lot 46; sold for £6,500 to S. J. Phillips Ltd.); [ S. J. Phillips Ltd. , London, until July 18, 1960; sold to Untermyer ] ; Irwin Untermyer (1960–68; to MMA)
Artist: James Cox (British, ca. 1723–1800)Date: 1766Medium: Case: gold with diamonds and paste jewels set in silver, pearls; Dial: while enamel; Movement: partly gilded brass and steel, wheel balance and cock of silver set with paste jewelsAccession: 1982.60.137On view in:Gallery 540