Dutch silver caster
Unidentified maker’s mark ‘flower in lozenge’
56 grams; 8.5 cm high
By the size of this small Rotterdam caster it is clear that it was intended for spices, for pepper in particular. Spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper were brought to the Netherlands by ships of the East Indian Company. These exotic commodities were extremely expensive in the seventeenth century.
A fragment from ‘Van Suycker ende Kruydt from Johan van Beverycks Schat der Gesontheyt, published in Dordrecht in 1636 reads (in Dutch):
‘Hier is geen Suycker-riet dat in de dalen wast, en noch wort hier de jeught met Sucker overlast. Het Indisch rijck gewas van Peper, Foely, Noten, wort hier, gelijck het graen, op solders uyt-gegoten; Men pluckt hier geen Caneel, geen ander edel kruyt, Wij deelen’t evenwel met gantsche Schepen uyt.’
Not many similar silver pepper casters from the middle of the Golden Age have survived. The ones that are known are from the second half of the 17th century and first half 18th century. Most of these are embellished with floral motifs. Another cylindrical plain Middelburg caster, maker’s mark C in shield, date letter L (1651 or 1675) was in our collection in 2012.