high relief central mythological scene with Zeus emerging from clouds at center top, accompanied by an eagle; nine figures (two women)--including Artemis and Hermes--wearing drapery and seated around a bench with fish and sea creatures; two small figures in the distance, ULC; inner rim decorated with groups of three fish; outer rim has reclining figures alternating with grotesque masks

"Feast of the Gods" charger, 1808

The London firm of Rundell, Bridge & Rundell was the undisputed tastemaker in Regency silver design. The first of eight versions made by Rundells over several years, this charger was probably made to entice orders from their prominent clients, numbering, among others, the Prince of Wales. The central image is ultimately based on a 16th century Venetian bronze relief, representing the apotheosis of Doge Sebastiano Venier, who helped to secure the Holy League's victory in the Battle of Lepanto. In 1719, Bernard de Montfaucon published an engraving of the image in "L'Antiquité Expliquée", titling it "The Wedding of Peleus and Thetis." Rundell, Bridge & Rundell used Montfaucon's engraving as a model, certainly believing it to depict an episode of ancient mythology, as the present title indicates. However, the two figures in Renaissance Ottoman dress in the background have no place in such iconography, pointing back to the Venetian bronze relief as the original source.

Details
Title
"Feast of the Gods" charger
Artist Life
English, apprenticed 1769, free 1784, registered marks 1781, 1786, 1791, and 1806
Role
Silversmith
Accession Number
2008.71
Curator Approved

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high relief central mythological scene with Zeus emerging from clouds at center top, accompanied by an eagle; nine figures (two women)--including Artemis and Hermes--wearing drapery and seated around a bench with fish and sea creatures; two small figures in the distance, ULC; inner rim decorated with groups of three fish; outer rim has reclining figures alternating with grotesque masks