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Bringing the wider world to a princely court

Attributed to Hans Jacobsz Wesson (active c. 1640)

Basin 1640

Silver-gilt | 5.4 x 55.6 x 55.6 cm | RCIN 51081

Lantern Lobby, Windsor Castle

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This ewer and basin belonged to the 'Winter Queen', Elizabeth of Bohemia (1596-1662), whose arms are engraved in the centre of the basin. Elizabeth, daughter of James VI and I and grandmother of George I, linked the Stuart and Hanoverian dynasties and all

Ewer (RCIN 51452) ©

By the nineteenth century, ewers and basins were collected for their decorative properties for use on the buffet, rather than for any functional purpose. George IV purchased these examples in 1816. They were made in The Hague in 1640 for Elizabeth of Bohemia, the sister of Charles I. Elizabeth's daughter, Sophie of Hanover, was the mother of George I, and the queen was therefore crucial in the link between the Stuarts and the Hanoverian dynasty. Moreover, she led a tragic life. As wife of Frederick of Bohemia, who ruled for only one winter, she was forced into exile in The Hague, receiving a pension from her brother. However, at the outbreak of the English Civil War the pension was withdrawn and Elizabeth was left with almost no resources. This tale seems to have struck a chord with George IV who engraved the long history and Elizabeth's credentials on the basin itself.