Date Made/Found: around 1835
Material and Medium: Old Sheffield Plate?
Dimensions: Overall: 170 x 215 x 340mm (6 11/16 x 8 7/16 x 13 3/8in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: L1905.9
This is an entrée dish made of Old Sheffield Plate. It was manufactured by Robert Gainsford of Sheffield, around 1835.
Old Sheffield Plate was developed in Sheffield around 1742 by Thomas Boulsover. It is a type of silver plated metal made by fusing a thin layer of silver onto a copper ingot. It was rolled out into sheets and used to make decorative objects that looked like silver but were much cheaper.
Entrée dishes were among the most prominent articles on the dining table, and many different varieties were made. They were used to hold entrees; savoury dishes that were served before the main courses. Large pieces of silverware like this would only have been affordable for more wealthy families, regularly entertaining dinner guests. Due to the amount of silver needed even the wealthiest families would have bought silver plate instead of solid silver.
Like many pieces of the period this dish has gadroon borders, a scroll handle and the stand rests on lions feet. It bears two family crests and a latin motto ‘Semper Vigilans’ which means ‘always watchful’.
The dish bears the symbol of an elephant's head at each end.
Purchased with assistance from the V&A Purchase Grant Fund