Sunday, December 2, 2012

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: The Paul Storr Covered Dish, 1808-1809

The Victoria & Albert Museum

By the Nineteenth Century, silversmiths were fashioning a wider variety of serving pieces than ever before. Grand sets of silver had long been made for the dining tables of the wealthy. However, the Nineteenth Century began to usher in an era of specialized serving pieces designed for use with particular foods. Deeper dishes with elaborate covers were employed to serve game or fowl.

This brilliant neoclassical dish with its lush ornamentation is the work of Paul Storr who purposely designed it as a display of the wealth of the owner. Having an important piece of silver for every imaginable use conveyed to a wealthy household’s dinner guests that the family had funds to spare. Paul Storr’s wares were sold by the Royal Goldsmiths, Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, ensuring that only the best families would be purchasing his designs.

The whole of the dish is crafted of sterling silver. The stepped cover features raised work with cast figurative finial, and chased and flatted silver around base. It is marked “PS” for Paul Storr. On the side of the base: it is marked as sterling with the year listed as “N” (1808-9). The cover is adorned with the arms and crest of the Marquess of Ormonde. The ornate finial is actually a three-dimensional representation of the Ormonde arms and crest. The Ormonde Estate bequeathed this dish along with the rest of the opulent set to the Victoria & Albert Museum in lieu of Estate Tax.

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