Flask, 1675 by Benjamin Braford
<p><span style="background-color: #ffff00;"><strong>RESERVED</strong></span> Flask - Pear-shaped - London c.1670-80 by Benjamin Braford - 10.5cm high; 7cm max. width; 122g - FN/9209</p>
Seventeenth century silver flasks for holding alcohol or perfume are rare survivors and this a fine example of the type. Engraved to one side with a crest featuring an elephant's head within plumed mantling, this pear-shaped flask has an attractive form and although intended to be carried in a pouch or pocket can stand alone on its flat base. It is here that the single maker's stamp is located that can be read to be "BB" over a crescent for Benjamin Braford. The flask retains its original screw thread cap and more luckily the original silver mounted cork stopper too. The strapwork along the edges is an original feature and strengthened the seam joining the two halves. Although there are one or two minor dings, this Charles II period silver flask remains in excellent condition.
Benjamin Braford was the son of James Braford of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire and became free of his apprenticeship to John Cooke in 1666. He took on his first apprentice in 1667 and was working until at least 1699 when his final apprentice was turned over to John Fawdery. Work with his two marks - one being the BB with crescent below as seen on this flask (see Jacksons page 141, 13th entry) - have been noted on a wide variety of silver hollowware between 1673 and 1691. For further information on this maker, see pages 241/2 in "Silversmiths in Elizabethan and Stuart London" by David M. Mitchell.