Date Made/Found: around 1815
Material and Medium: Old Sheffield Plate
Dimensions: Overall: 53 × 47mm (2 1/16 × 1 7/8in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: L1943.502
This is a pair of napkin rings made of Old Sheffield Plate, around 1815.
Napkin or serviette rings were originally designed to identify the napkins of a household between wash days. Napkin rings are an invention of the European upper middle class, first appearing in France about 1800 and soon spreading to the rest of the western world. Most napkin rings of the 1800s were made of silver or silver plate, but also bone, wood, pearl embroidery, porcelain and glass. Some rings bear the initials of the owner, and were a common gift as christening and wedding presents.
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.