Thursday, March 1, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday and Sir Walter Raleigh

Years ago my mother had this old, heavy brass charger hanging in her home. I don't know when, or where, she got it from. [She suffered a brain aneurysm in 1995 and lost much of her memory. So she can't fill in the blanks.]

I know that as a child, I always loved it. Having grown up in Norfolk, Virginia, I was immersed in the early history of our country. Sir Walter Raleigh, depicted on this charger, being chief among the characters.

The charger is about 18-inches across, and is of heavy brass. It depicts Queen Elizabeth I alighting from her carriage, her ladies in waiting gathered behind her. Sir Walter Raleigh has just placed his cloak across a mud puddle, so that the Queen would not muddy or wetten her dainty slippers; forever endearing Her Majesty to Raleigh.

As a young girl, I found the tale delightfully chivalrous, and a tad romantic!

A few years ago, Mother began down-sizing and offered me the charger. I took it, along with another of matching size, but not of same heft, which shows a scene of what appears to be castle staff in the kitchen at a table, drinking. [I've not been able to identify it.]
While I hang the pair side by side, it is obvious they are of different quality. The characters in the second are not as crisp and identifiable as the first. There are two women present in the goup, one seated to th left, and one with head thrown back, and bonnet on, to the right. There are five men, and one seated at the table appears to be wearing a chefs hat.
[Any one have any idea if the scene is of any importance?]

Neither of the pieces have any markings on them to identify their maker. [I've looked for a metalworker stamp on the Raleigh piece, but if it's there, I haven't located it.]

I suspect the Sir Walter Raleigh, due to it's weight, was cast. While the other is extremely light, and probably pressed.

I hang them side by side, on a folding screen that came from the Phillipines [another treasure for another day], in my living room.

To the casual observer they may appear crude art. But to me, because they were Mother's, and I have them in my farthest memories of childhood and home, they are treasures worth far more than silver or gold could buy.

They evoke home. Family. And that is absolutely priceless.

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