Thursday, August 19, 2010

Silver Tureens & Crowns for Queens

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Susan reporting:

Earlier this summer we marveled at a golden soup tureen from 18th c. France. It seems only fair that we show you how the English aristocracy had their soup brought to table.

This gorgeous tureen and stand was made of silver – a great deal of silver, for it's a very large tureen – around 1824. Wealthy Englishmen of the period liked a glittering display of silver on their dining table, and vied with one another for the biggest, most ornate candlesticks, centerpieces, and serving dishes. The tureen is almost alive with marine motifs, including dolphins, lobsters, and shells, a mermaid on one side and merman on the other. While this would make it perfect for serving lobster bisque, more likely the designs would have been considered patriotic for an island nation that was justly proud of its navy.

The tureen was made for Fletcher Norton, 3rd Baron Grantley (1796-1875). A veteran of the Battle of Waterloo, Lord Grantley never married, but if this tureen was any indication, he set a lavish bachelor table.  He also must have believed in patronizing the best silversmiths in London. This masterpiece is the work of Robert Garrard, Jr., of Garrard & Company, whose family's shop in Panton Street catered to the highest ranks of fashionable society, including the Royal Princes. Twenty years after this tureen was made, the young Queen Victoria appointed Garrard & Company as the Crown Jewelers – which in turn must have made the baron value his fabulous tureen even more.

Above: Silver tureen and stand made by Robert Garrard, Jr., London, England, 1824-25. Winterthur Museum

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now that is something, a true master-piece by a master silversmith. Lucky that with the price of the silver these days no one has broken it up and melted it down.

Hels said...

My heart melts at the sight of gorgeous, old silver.

This looks like a large and very heavy hunk of silverware.. do we know what it weighed? I have seen a silver wine cooler that was so heavy, it took four servants to carry the thing into the dining room. It may be similar with this soup tureen.

Susan Holloway Scott said...

Anonymous, I'm very glad no one melted this down, too - though I can't imagine how much just that must silver must be worth today.

Hels, I agree - I'm a sucker for old silver, too. I don't really know how much this weighs, except that I'm sure it's incredibly heavy, even empty. It's large - I'm remembering the base as being about 24 inches long. I love your image of several servants carrying it in to dinner. Certainly it would have been too much for a single man.

ILoveVersailles said...

Beautiful! There's nothing like that Georgian silver.

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