A rare piece of Irish silver made in Dublin during the time of Oliver Cromwell is to be auctioned in England later this month.
The shallow bowl, described as a ‘porringer’ meant to hold soup or stews, was made sometime between 1659 and 1663 and is the second oldest known secular Irish plate. It is expected to sell for up to £6,000 (over $7,500).
The Irish News reports that only a handful of similar pieces are known to survive from the period before the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and only a Dublin-made table salt dating back to 1640 is believed to pre-date it.
The bowl's whereabouts were unknown for nearly 50 years until earlier this year when Sworders auctioneers in Stansted in England were asked to appraise items of silver from the family of Colonel SL Bibby CBE, a silver collector.
A statement from Sworders said: "Bibby's granddaughter, too, has fond memories of family meals in a dining room sparkling with Stuart and Georgian table silver.
"Sadly much of the collection was subsequently stolen, and the porringer is among just eight lots that remained with the family to be sold in Essex on November 30."
The piece has been dubbed the 'IS' porringer due to its engraved initials. The bowl is also marked with a Dublin harp.