Bristol silver vase is King of the Castle-Top

at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions

Click here to view the catalogue online

A rare Victorian silver 'castle-top' card case, by Nathaniel Mills, Birmingham, and titled Bristol High Cross will be offered in Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions' Fine Silver sale in the Donnington Priory saleroom on the Wednesday 9th July 2014.

The case was fashioned by Britain's most prestigious makers of castle-top boxes, Nathaniel Mills & Sons, a family run business in Birmingham who specialised in silver card-cases, snuff boxes and vinaigrettes.

Fashionable in the 19th century, castle-top card cases were stamped or engraved with local landmarks and sold to the thriving tourist market as souvenirs.

This example titled Bristol High Cross, 1763, bears the iconic High Cross, erected in 1373 at the junction of High Street, Broad Street, Wine Street and Corn Street, in the heart of Bristol. Its niches containing the statues of the monarchs who had contributed to the city's expansion and trade. Originally completely gilded it was later painted vermilion, blue and gold.

In 1733 the deputy chamberlain Mr Vaughan claimed his life and house were in danger from the High Cross every time the wind blew and the Cross was relocated to the Guildhall. After protests the High Cross was re-erected on College Green, however, in 1763 the fashionable set declared it a nuisance because it impeded their promenading, it was given to Henry Hoare of Stourhead to use as an estate ornament where it still stands today. With its unusual and historically significant scene this castle-top card case is estimated at £4,000-6,000 [Lot 167].

The case will be sold at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions' Donnington Priory saleroom in Berkshire on Wednesday 9th July 214. The catalogue is available to view online at


Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are a UK 'top 5' auctioneer of fine art and collectibles. As part of Stanley Gibbons we are the only UK stock-exchange listed firm of auctioneers and occupy the same stable as coin specialists Baldwin's, and Frasers Autograph's. Established in 1759, we have the broadest and most regular calendar of specialist catalogued sales in the industry, numbering over 150 per annum, and provide vendors and buyers alike access to market-leading specialist advice in any number of collecting fields. We operate from salerooms in Donnington Priory (near Newbury), London's Mayfair, Bristol and Godalming.

The Auction Room is an online auction site at which you can buy and sell antiques, paintings and collectible works of art. The site was founded in March 2013 and is modelled on many elements of the traditional auction process, enhanced by a unique and exciting online browsing and bidding process. Our offices are located at 1 Berkley Street, in the heart of London's Mayfair.

Donnington Priory - 2nd July 2014