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Antiques Roadshow Cromwell Discovery Comes to Auction

A remarkable 17th century Black Jack, discovered on the BBC's Antiques Roadshow is to be auctioned on 25th February, as part of The Winter Auction.


The monumental Black Jack, standing 1 and a half feet high, bears a silver pendant inscribed 'Oliver Cromwell 1653 Lord Protector of England Scotland and Ireland' whilst the front possesses a silver metal armorial, a variation of Oliver Cromwell's arms, and the motto 'Pax Quaeritur Bello'.


It was brought on to the Roadshow by a member of the Hoare family, in whose possession the vessel has been for generations. Family tradition held that it was one of a number of jugs made by Cromwell from the hide of his war horse 'Black Jack', after it died in 1651.


Astride Black Jack, Cromwell fought many of the battles of the Civil War that raged in England between 1642 and 1651, and after the horse died at the end of the war, Cromwell presumably commissioned the jugs as a way of commemorating his valiant steed.


 The date '1653' on the rim of the jug may suggest that it commemorates the year Cromwell became Lord Protector. Although the surface of the jug is wonderfully aged, it has also been suggested, however, that the silver metal mounts may have been a later 18th century antiquarian improvement.

Senan MacDonagh of Duke's comments "This is an incredible survival and few blackjacks are recorded.  Most are 30cm high or less.  The connection to Oliver Cromwell and the dedicatory inscription around the silver rim makes it particularly important.  The question is whether the mounts were added by an antiquarian 150 years after the jug was made.  Expert opinion is divided but the leather vessel itself is certainly of the period".


25th February | Lot 446: A Monumental Leather 'Black Jack' | SOLD £9250 (including buyer's premium)


For more information, please contact Head of Department Cristian Beadman