Art writer PAS Phillips wrote that ‘nothing more successful as table ornaments ever emanated from the goldsmith’s workshop’ than the magnificent shell baskets of the 18th-century.

This basket takes the form of a shell, supported by three dolphins which serve as feet. A mermaid with twin tails performs the function of a handle, and the rim of the basket is decorated with shells, scrolls and sea foam. This example is attributed to Phillips Garden, the son of John Garden, a freeman of the DrapersÂ’ Company of London. Garden was one of a small group of virtuoso goldsmiths working in the high Rococo style, and was known for his elaborate business card, which he decorated with an engraving showing the interior of his premises in St PaulÂ’s churchyard.


Jodrell family; acquired by previous owner from S J Phillips in late 1950s/early 1960s; Christopher Hartop. An Art Loss Register certificate has been provided.

Back to top