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© National Museums Scotland


These marks on the silver band indicate that the mazer was crafted by James Craufurd of Edinburgh in 1591.

Craigievar Mazer

This stunning maplewood and silver mazer (drinking bowl) was probably commissioned by William Forbes (1566 – 1627), son of William Forbes, 4th Lord of Corse and brother of Patrick, Bishop of Aberdeen.


Forbes made his fortune with international trading in the Baltic states, based in the city of Danzig later known as Gdańsk, Poland. This earned him the nickname of “Danzig Willy.” Forbes purchased the partially-completed Craigievar Castle from the impoverished Mortimer family in the year 1610 and finished the building in 1626. In 1630, “Danzig Willy” also used his fortune to become a Baronet though Charles I’s scheme to raise funds by offering the titles based land in Nova Scotia.

Sir William Forbes, 1st Baronet of Craigievar, probably passed on the mazer to his second daughter Anna who married Robert Petrie of Portlethen. He was a wealthy merchant and Provost of Aberdeen three times between 1664 and 1676. The mazer was engraved with both the arms of Provost Petrie and his wife. The mazer was acquired in the mid-19th century by Sir William Forbes (later Forbes-Sempill), of Craigievar, 8th Baronet, 17th Lord Sempill.

The design on the rim of this mazer is a running leaf pattern, with a gilly flower, roses and acorns, amongst which at intervals in the following order are, a stag, hound, peacock, squirrel, hare, hound, chough ( a species of crow), fox, bear, monkey, fox, popinjay, lion, and a bear standing on his hind legs and leaning on a staff. This Maplewood drinking bowl was crafted by James Craufurd of Edinburgh in 1591, as indicated by his mark on the silver band.

According to the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Mr. Sydney Letts of Great Russell Street in London acquired the mazer and he in turn sold it to Mr. John A. Holms. From there, the mazer passed to the Earl of Galloway. The mazer was acquired by the Bute Collection at Mount Stuart, which has loaned the artifact to the National Museums Scotland.

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