It is believed that this ewer and basin, which bear the mark of the prominent London goldsmith Symon Owen, were made for Henry Frederick, prince of Wales (1594–1612) and eldest son of James I of England. While ewers and their accompanying basins were originally intended for the washing of hands at the dining table, they were also employed as part of lavish displays of silver on sideboards or buffets in princely or aristocratic houses.
Marking:  Leopard's head crowned (London assay office mark);  Lion passant (English quality mark for sterling);  n in shaped shield (London date letter for 1610–11);  S.O., pellet above and 3 pellets below in shaped shield (maker's mark).
Location of marks: - on rim of basin
Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales ; Sneyd family (1750–1924; sale, Christie's, June 24, 1924, no. 87) ; William Randolph Hearst ; Irwin Untermyer (until 1968; to MMA)
Artist: James Cox (British, ca. 1723–1800) Date: 1766Medium: Case: gold with diamonds and paste jewels set in silver, pearls; Dial: while enamel; Movement: partly gilded brass and steel, wheel balance and cock of silver set with paste jewelsAccession: 1982.60.137On view in:Gallery 540