Covered butter dishes from this period are rare, and this is an early and outstanding example. Resting on four leg-like feet, the base is adorned with two lovely portrait medallions.
One medallion is the profile of a young man wearing a helmet, and the opposite medallion is of a young woman. Both profiles are set against a stippled background. The flat midsection of the body is decorated with classical hand-engraving. Loop handles, terminating with rosettes which center cast Assyrian (or Egyptian) style masks, are attached at the sides.
The domed cover, engraved with an initial ‘L’ in a cursive style, is also engraved with wonderful bright-cut decoration similar to the base. The edge has a die-rolled and applied guilloché design for both decoration and reinforcement. Surmounting the dome is an exceptional cast finial of a cube applied with cast heads of two cows (or bulls) and two sheep (or rams).
This remarkable coin silver butter dish is marked underneath with Gorham’s trademark and the model number ‘320’. The base and cover are both stamped with the numeral ‘2’. It measures 5.75 inches high by 6 inches round, weighs 18.75 troy ounces, and is in very good/ excellent antique condition.
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