Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Art of Play: A Child's Chafing Dish, 1912-1918

Chafing Dish
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Teddy bears had become very popular very quickly at the beginning of the 20th century.  Not only were the actual bears themselves all the rage, but depictions of teddy bears began to appear on a variety of objects.

Of great interest to many was the idea of bears behaving like humans.  This was a popular theme for many a drawing, and such images began to adorn all sorts of items—both for adults and children. 

Here’s one such item designed for a child.

On this dish, we see images of bears performing various sporting activities including cricket, football, skating and golf. It’s a chafing dish--when filled with hot water, the metal base kept the child's food warm.  Seems like a recipe for scaling to me.  But, what do I know?  Other such dishes showed bears dressed in suits and gowns for an elegant  ball.

The dish was made in Staffordshire between 1912 and 1918 by John Aynsley & Sons Ltd.  

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