Silver Montieth
Credit: Gunston Hall
Original Author: Issac Dighton
Created: 1700
Medium: Silver
Publisher: Gunston Hall

Silver Montieth

An elaborately decorated silver bowl known as a monteith features lion's-head ring handles and cherubs along its scalloped edges. Produced for George Mason's grandfather in London in 1700, this monteith was used at Gunston Hall in Virginia. About a foot in diameter, this type of silver vessel was in vogue at the end of the seventeenth century. Wine glasses were suspended over the edges of the monteith into iced water inside the bowl, which chilled the glasses and rinsed them between courses, all while keeping the foot of the stemware dry. This particular monteith had another use at Gunston Hall: it served as a baptismal font for the Mason children. The silver vessel remains in the mansion, in a built-in cabinet in the Palladian room, the most architecturally distinguished room in the house.