The Navarre Water Container

The Navarre Water Container

French, Copper
Circa 1600

There is quite a long story to the piece. First of all, it was found in a New Hampshire attic, how it got there is a mystery. We did a lot of research on it and strongly believe it is period Henry IV ( 1589-1610) which makes it a 17th century piece of copper which is extremely rare, because copper is soft and that is has survived in such excellent condition. There are a few small minor dents but the color and condition is extraordinary.

The crest has the bull of Henry IV who was born inside Chateaux de Pau, which puts its manufacture in the Pyrenees or Basque region of France. The fleurs de lis have been used on the arms of France since the 12th century and the medieval crown was used through the 17th century. ” In 1589, when Henri, king of Navarre, ascended the throne as Henry VI of France, the arms of French Kings became per pale France and Navarre, which is a cross, saltire, (double orle of chains, all linked.”

The bas-relief represents several provinces that were part of the Aquitane during the period in question: Greater Navarre (the linked chains), Labourd (the fleur de lis; also used in Soule from time to time, from what we have seen) and Bearn (the bulls). You typically find the Navarre and Labourd/Soule emblems in Basque coats of arms depicting the seven traditional Basque provinces.

The piece is completely dovetailed on the sides, and the construction is consistent of a piece that may have belonged to the retinue or suite used during one of the Kings campaigns. It belonged to simple people and is not a royal object, but no less important because of it.