Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Home Beautiful: An Egg Stand, 1785

Sheffield Plate Egg Stand
Sheffield, 1785
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Eggcup sets or egg cruets first came about in the Eighteenth Century during a period when the upper classes began a long-standing preoccupation with elegant and refined dining. The earliest recorded eggcup frame that’s been found thus far dates to about 1740.

This egg stand was made around 1785 in Britain of Sheffield Plate (copper plated with silver) and conveniently boasts a salt cellar, in the center of the stand, in the form of an oval basket with a swing handle. Originally this cellar would have had a (probably cobalt blue) glass liner to protect the silver from the corrosive effects of the salt.

The stand and the pierced and chased egg cups are made in the Neo-classical style. This very clever contraption also features hooks for six egg spoons (which are now, sadly, missing).  Boiled eggs would have been nestled in each cup and carried into the dining room by a footman on the stand. Then, each person at table would have been given his or her own egg cup and spoon and could have salted his or her egg from the central cellar. 

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