Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Christening Fonts

The Christening Ewer and Basin, c.1735, are both engraved with the royal arms of George HI. The handle of the ewer is surmounted by the figure of Hercules slaying the Hydra. The Charles II Font and Basin, 1660 Although Charles II was unmarried when he came to the throne he persuaded the Treasury to pay for a magnificent christening font and basin. His subsequent marriage to Catherine of Braganza produced no children but it is thought that the font was used to christen some of his illegitimate children, of which he had at least thirteen. The font was used for royal christenings up to the late 18th century and its last recorded use appears to be for the christening of Princess Charlotte in 1796. The basin was used as an altar dish at the coronations of George IV and Queen Victoria and is now on display with the altar plate.

Christening Ewer and Basin, c.173.5 The Ewer and Basin were first used for the christening of the future King George III at Norfolk House in 1738. His father, Frederick, Prince of Wales, had been banished from the court of George II and was denied the use of the Charles II Font. Both pieces are engraved with the royal arms of George III and an inscription recording their use at his christening and the subsequent christening of his son, Prince Alfred, in 1780.
The Lily Font, 1840, is still used by the Royal Family today together with the christening robe made for the Princess Royal in 1841.  
The Lily Font, 1840 This silver-gilt christening font was Made by E.E.J. & W. Barnard for the baptism of the Princess Royal, Queen Victoria's first child, in 1841. It was said that Queen Victoria did not care for the Charles II Christening Font because of its links with his illegitimate children. The base of the font bears the coats of arms of the Princess Royal, Prince Albert and the joint arms of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The Lily Font is still used by the Royal Family today and with it, the 1735 Ewer.

Writer- Kenneth Mears 

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