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THE HOPETOUN BASKET. An extremely unusual George III Bread/Cake Basket made in London in 1803 by William Allen III.

£ 5,250

Most baskets are oval in form and to find a round example is very unusual. It was the great Paul Storr who first made this design at this date. The basket stands on a circular flared foot, with gadrooned edge, which is pierced with vertical pails and engraved with prick dot designs. The unusual deep main body has a plain bowl which rises to a gadrooned rim which encloses a beautiful wide pierced, and engraved, band of trailing foliage and unusual flower heads. The centre of the bowl is engraved with a contemporary Crest and the arched handle is decorated with leaf capped reeding. The basket is of the finest quality, in terms of design and production, and is very well marked on the foot and with the maker's mark and sterling mark on the handle.

As well as the design being unusual, and the quality outstanding, the basket has a very important provenance attached to it, as the Crest is that as used by James Hope-Johnston, 3rd Earl of Hopetoun, of Hopetoun House, Scotland. In heraldic terms the Crest is a broken globe, below a rainbow. James Hope Johnstone was born on 23rd August 1741 and was known as Viscount Aithrie from 1742 to 1781. Being set on a military career, he spent from 1758 until 1764 as an ensign in the British Army. He succeeded to the Earldom of Hopetoun on the death of his father in 1781. He was Lord-Lietenant of Linlithgowshire from 1794 to 1816 and sat in the House of Lords as a Scottish Representative Peer from 1784 to 1790 and from 1794 to 1796. He died at his Seat, the magnificent Hopetoun House, on 29th May, 1816. A picture of Hopetoun is attached, as well as a picture of the dining room, where the basket would have been used. We also show a watercolour of the 3rd Earl by Richard Cosway. The National Heritage Memorial fund funded the purchase of most of the contents of the house in the early 1990's, howeer a number of items came onto the open market. With reference to the maker, William Allen III, Hhe was a specialist pierced worker with workshops in Noble Street, when this piece was made. We have seen wine coasters, bearing his mark, with similar piercing.

Diameter 11.5 inches, 28.75cm.
Height, to the rim: 4.5 inches, 11.25cm.
Height to the top of the handle: 10.5 inches, 26.25cm.
Weight: 32oz.