Date Made/Found: around 1812
Material and Medium: Old Sheffield Plate
Dimensions: Overall: 170mm (6 11/16in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: L1943.499
This is a pair of beakers which fit together to form a shaker. They were made around 1812, of Old Sheffield Plate with a gilded inside surface.
Gilded means the surface has been applied with a thin layer of gold to prevent tarnish. This is mercurial gilt, which means the gold power was mixed with mercury and then applied to the surface. It was then fired to burn off the mercury, leaving a layer of gold remaining. Although effective, working with mercury was dangerous and could cause serious health problems for the craftsmen.
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.
This object is part of the Bradbury Collection.