DUTCH SILVER CASTER
Gilis Prick, Maastricht, 1684-1686,
123 grams; 12,5 cm high
Private collection, Belgium
I.L. Szenassy, Maastrichts zilver, Maastricht, 1978, biografie p.192
The plain cylindrical caster with reeded borders and protruding foot rim has a high- domed and pierced cover applied with a cut card motif below the bell-shaped finial.
The detachable cover has a bayonet fitting. Engraved at the reverse No I=4=I.
Fully marked at the reverse, displaying assay stripes, and at the interior of the cover.
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This is the earliest known Maastricht caster of this cylindrical type with bayonet fitting so far. Gilis Prick made it between 1884 and 1686, being the first Maastricht silversmith, who made this type of caster. He was followed by other Maastricht silversmiths, such as Fredericus Wery (caster, dated 1700-1703), Johannes Klockers sr. (caster, dated 1706-1708), Paulus Petrus Stocx (caster, dated 1715-1716) and later Henry Leunis, who apparently had received a commission to make a silver caster in seventeenth century style in 1742-1744.
A striking detail on this caster is the cut card decoration, which the Lutheran silversmith applied on the high-domed cover. Huguenot silversmiths, who escaped the catholic supremacy in France and fled to The Netherlands and England, made use of this cut card technique. Lutherans and other Protestants appreciated this simple style, for they detested ornate decorations.
According to his biography Gilis Prick was a member from a widespread international Lutheran family of goldsmiths and silversmiths, who lived in Amsterdam, Erfurt, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf. Gillis Prick was married to Agnes Smeets. He was a reigning master in 1663-1666, 1668-1670, 1678-1679 and assay master in 1661-1663, 1678-1679 and 1682-1684. Wilhelmus Maessen became his apprentice on 1 July 1669.
It is known that in 1673 Gilis Prick fought for equal rights for Lutherans and other Protestants in Maastricht. In 1680 or 1681 he donated an amount of money (40 rijksdaalders) to the church, as a contribution to the pulpit.
Jacob J. Roosjen SRI®
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