Fine Antique Decorative Arts by Estate Liquidations and Consignments
1836 Neoclassical Old Sheffield Silver Tureen and Lid

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Directory: Antiques: Decorative Art: Metals: Silver: Plate: Pre 1837 VR: item # 1059849

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Estate Liquidations and Consignments
South Central United States
By Appointment Only


1836 Neoclassical Old Sheffield Silver Tureen and Lid

Neoclassical Old Sheffield Silverplate Sauce Tureen and Cover, in one of the earliest sauce tureen styles; tapering oval form, with domed cover, elegant loop handles, vase-shaped finial, gadrooned borders, and pedestal foot. An engraved arm of a jestor, with hand holding a leafy branch on the lid, is likely a family crest. The base is impressed with the 1836 (and possibly earlier) Phoenix mark of Old Sheffield, as well as a set of hand-engraved letters and numbers, all pictured. The tureen measures about 10" from handle-to-handle, 4" front-to-back, 6" tall to top of finial. There appears to be no splitting, cracking, and little loss of plating, if any. We do suspect that one or both handles may have been repaired as the joints at the rim may be later silver solder, and tiny irregularities may be felt on the loops; one very small indentation on the foot border and a few other minor signs of wear and use. All-in-all it is in a quite nice condition for so early a piece, and shines beautifully. c. 1836. $18 US Shipping.

ABOUT SAUCE TUREENS: "Sauce Tureens became popular from the 1770s. Unlike traditional cold accompaniments to meat, such as mustand and redcurant sauces, the new French sauces were served hot -- meaning that tureens with lids were more practical than open sauceboats for keeping them warm. Sauce tureens were usually made in pairs or sometimes as a set of four -- one for each corner of the table -- and some had matching ladles. . . . Sauce tureens of this period tended to be sparingly decorated, usually only with reeding, gadrooning, or beading around the rims, covers, and feet; small, urn-shaped finials on the lid were common . . . On such plain pieces scratches, dents, and, on versions made from Sheffield plate . . . engraved coats of arms or crests, are often easily visible." [courtesy Antiques Encyclopedia, Judith Miller]

OLD SHEFFIELD SILVER: "Two hundred and fifty years ago, Sheffield Plate offered consumers a more affordable alternative to sterling silver. Today, these early works of silver plate often command as high or sometimes higher prices than their sterling counterparts.

. . . this high quality silver plate happened quite by accident . . . an accident that would eventually allow people outside of the ruling classes and aristocracy to enjoy the grandeur of fine silver. From the 18th through 19th centuries, Sheffield Plate pieces were in great demand and were being manufactured not only in Sheffield, but also in Birmingham as well as in France and Russia. Almost all silver plate produced during this time is known as Old Sheffield Plate. In subsequent years it became known simply as Sheffield Plate . . .

The Industrial Revolution of the late 18th century forever changed the framework of the world's economy, culture and technology. More and more people moved from the agricultural-based rural communities to industrial-based cities where both men and women found work in factories . . . The lines between the wealthy and the poor became blurred, giving rise to what quickly became known as the middle class.

Many industries soon became interested in catering to the pocket books of these average, working citizens including the silver industry. For centuries, silversmiths had experimented, and often succeeded, in passing off pieces made of base metals plated in silver to deceive buyers. During the mid 1700s, it was discovered that there was a real market for these imitations, which had the appearance of sterling silver but at a fraction of the price. Oddly enough, then, it can be speculated that many of Sheffield Plate's first customers were royals and aristocrats since many of the earliest pieces bear crests and coats-of-arms of the ruling classes.

In 1743, Sheffield cutler Thomas Boulsover (1705-1788) discovered that silver and copper could be heated, fused and formed into a sheet that could be fashioned into objects that had the appearance of sterling . . .

From its creation, Sheffield pieces were often decorated using the die stamping process, which allowed decorative details to be stamped into the metal using a steel die, or tool used to impart a desired shape into a material. With the creation of double-sided plating on Sheffield in the late 1760s, pierced decoration became a plausible form of decoration. From the 1780s, chasing was used to hammer designs into Sheffield Plate, giving the piece the effect of a relief pattern. This technique was often used to create decorative borders on hollowware and on some flatware pieces." [courtesy of Rau Antiques; also see Old Sheffield Plate, Shire Publications, Annere Bambery]

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