Monteith

Workshop of Gabriel Sleath, English (active London), 1674 - 1756

Geography:
Made in London, England, Europe

Date:
1707-1708

Medium:
Silver

Dimensions:
8 1/4 x 11 inches (21 x 27.9 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1972-50-45

Credit Line:
Bequest of George D. Widener, 1972

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Gabriel Sleath was among a group of London silversmiths who signed a petition in December 1711 that complained about the competition of "necessitous strangers." The petition was directed in large part at the numerous Huguenot (French Protestant) craftsmen who had immigrated to England when Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685. The edict had granted Protestants some religious and political freedom.

The earliest known mention of a monteith---almost exclusively a British phenomenon---was in 1683. In that year the Oxford diarist Anthony à Wood wrote: "This year in the summer time came up a vessel or bason notched at the brims to let drinking glasses hang there by the foot so that the body or drinking place might hang in the water to coole them. Such a bason was called a 'Montleigh' from a fantastical Scot called 'Monsieur Monteigh' who at that time or a little before wore the bottome of his cloake or coate so notched UUUU."