Description & Technical information
The present salver has an interesting rococo form and is raised on three big, cast hoof-feet. The rim is repeatedly profiled, curved and wavy formed. In the middle of the mirror, there is a very fine executed engraving of a coat of arms in an elaborated rococo cartouche with wavy scrolls (rocailles), floral forms and wonderful naturalistic flying insects.
According to an old eating custom, important people and guests were served by using an offering salver. These kind of presentation dishes were the ancestors of later pieces of this style. Salvers and tazze were used in France for the ritual of the “levée” as well as an accessory for the toilet services. In England, they were also used for the tableware but as well for presenting letters.
The often-smooth surface of the mirror was particularly suitable for bringing up engravings, and mostly coat of arms and crests. These salvers took during the eighteenth century many different forms – oval, hexagonal or octagonal, etc.
Francis Nelme was son of the citizen and goldsmith Anthony Nelme of London. He apprenticed since 1712 to his father. He became a master maker in 1719. He probably entered his first mark below his father’s undated large mark around 1723.
A very nice and of unusual shape tray of Francis Nelme is in the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Period: 1600-1750, 18th century
Origin: England, London
Signature: City hallmark: leopard’s head crowned (Jackson 1921: 85)
Maker’s mark: initial “N” in curved shield for Francis Nelme (Griwmwade 1990 Nr. 67)
Assay mark: lion passant (Jackson 1921: 85)
Date letter: “V” for 1735/6 (Jackson 1921: 85)
Provenance: A very nice and of unusual shape tray of Francis Nelme is in the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Literature: Grimwade, Ar., London Goldsmiths 1697-1837. Their marks and lives from the original registers at Goldsmiths’ Hall and other sources, GB: Faber and Faber, 1990 [Grimwade3]
Hernmarck, Carl, Die Kunst der europäischen Gold- und Silberschmiede von 1450 bis 1830, C.H. Beck Verlag: München, 1978
Jackson, Ch., J., English Goldsmiths and their marks, London: MacMillan and Co. Limited, 1921
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European Silver and Silver-Gilt Objects coming from the 16th to the early 19th centuries. Our key areas are collectibles and tableware, especially of German cou...
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