Original British Naval Copper Rum Measure from H.M.S. Leopard with Queen Anne's Cypher c.1702-1714
Original Item: One of a Kind. We've all heard of Scurvy the terrible decease contracted through lack of Vitamin C. The decease was rampant in the BRITISH NAVY in the 18th Century. Even barrels of "fresh water" stored for a long ocean voyage developed the most awful scum from algae.
In 1740 the British Vice Admiral EDWARD VERNON, who was overall commander of the West Indies Station, ordered that every English seaman should receive a ration of RUM everyday. This amounted to a HALF PINT, and was intended both to raise the spirits, and clean the water. When issued neat it led to problems of abuse with sailors saving rations to be consumed all at once, leaving them insensible to their required tasks. It was resolved therefore that the HALF PINT Rum Ration should be mixed with TWO PINTS of fresh water creating what we now know as "GROG." It had been intended for Lime and Orange juice to be added but was very rarely available.
Thus started a tradition that stood in the Royal Navy for more than 200 years, and is still honored today.
This is a typical bulbous Copper Measuring Mug or Ewer from the very earliest part of the 18th century, measuring 4 inches tall, not counting the handle. It is marked with an ANCHOR over H.M.S. LEOPARD on one side and A Royal CROWN over AR, the monogram of Queen Anne on the other, who ruled 1702-1714.
The fourth ship to bear the name HMS Leopard was a 50-gun fourth rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, built at Rotherhithe and launched on 15 March 1703. Leopard underwent a rebuild according to the 1719 Establishment at Woolwich, and was relaunched on 18 April 1721. Leopard served until 1739, when she was broken up.
We assume it is a measuring cup for diluting RUM with water to create the Royal Navy's staple "GROG" which was issued to every Able bodies Seaman several times a day. A measure introduced to alleviate the terrible living conditions endured by Her Majesty's Navy. Perhaps this was just an Officer's drinking Mug but we rather doubt it. One or two dents from age and standing slightly lopsided on it's base this has lots of patina, and a true sense of age.
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