A Very Fine Georgian Old Sheffield Plate Serving Tray by Matthew Boulton,England
A Very Fine Georgian Old Sheffield Plate Serving Tray by Matthew Boulton, England Circa 1825
A very fine and early 19th century Georgian 'Old Sheffield Plate' handled serving tray of oval form, the exterior surface engraved with foliate motifs and centred by a circular sterling silver 'let-in' plaque engraved with a heraldic crest & motto, the underside bearing impressed marks for Matthew Boulton and raised overall on four short supports. Dimensions, 1.5” high x 31.5" wide (across the handles) x 20" deep.
(Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) is considered to be without question one of the most important & influential industrialists and silversmiths of the 19th century, and although he died in 1809 the factory continued to produce items until approximately 1840).
'Old Sheffield Plate' (not to be confused with items marked ‘Sheffield Plate’ which are much later) was first developed in Britain during the mid-18th century in order to replicate items found only in sterling silver at the time, but at a fraction of the cost. The process involved sandwiching a sheet of copper between two outer layers of sterling silver, then heating and rolling (annealing) it into sheets to then be formed into an assortment of table items i.e., hollow-ware, trays, candelabras, candlesticks, wine coasters, etc., as well as cutlery which is quite scarce. This process is considered by collectors to be the finest method of silver plating ever developed, however it ceased production with the advent of electroplating, which was developed and patented by Elkington & Company in 1840.