What is possibly the rarest Irish Provincial silver mug to come on the market in the last 50 years – by Charles Begheagle whose work represents some of the earliest examples of Cork silver known to have survived – turned up at auction in New York last Sunday. The exceptionally rare c1693 Cork William III mug was bought by the Irish silver dealer William Crofton of L and W Duvallier, now based at the London Silver Vaults on Chancery Lane.
Mr. Crofton bought the piece for $6,500 dollars, but said he would have been prepared to go much higher. “The only other piece by this maker I have seen is the match to this mug in the National Museum of Ireland”, he said, adding that it would be very difficult to value the piece.
Charles Begheagle, a Huguenot, is believed to have been encouraged to settle in Cork by fellow Huguenot Robert Goble. He became Warden of the Goldsmiths Guild of Cork in 1693 and died in 1697. Few of his works are known and his name is one that would be recognised by only a small number of specialists. As he favoured repousse chasing it has been suggested that he may have chased the Cork Mace for Robert Goble, now at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The mug turned up in a lot of antique English hollow ware estimated at $400-600 at Clarke of Larchmont, New York, where it was sold on December 14. The makers mark CB was thought to have possibly been Charles Blair with what might have been the city mark for Edinburgh.
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