This is an extremely fine and rare antique sterling rectangular egg frame complete with egg cups and egg spoons. It is of exceptional quality and regal design.
The unusual handle is formed with a blossoming flower at the top with classical foliate curved arms stretching downward and attaching to the frame. A gadrooned edge is used as the decorative motif for the top area of the frame. Six circular cup holders are attached to the frame edge and handle extensions. Six wire loops are attached to the interior edge to hold the spoons. The cups are also decorated on the top with a band of gadrooning. Below that is a band which suspends the cups when they are placed into their circular holders. Engraved on the side is the royal badge.
The corner supports are designed with entwined serpents around a staff with winged tops (caducei).
The base of the frame is a woven basket design bordered with plain edges. The classical inspired feet are shells bearing spread wings.
This shell motif also fits in with the spoon pattern of Fiddle, Thread & Shell.
The spoons are marked by William Eley, William Fearn and William Chawner, bear the same date mark as the rest of the service and were obviously ordered by Emes & Barnard to fit the frame. The area below the shells on the fronts of the handles are engraved with the royal badge.
The stand is engraved underneath:
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE K.G.
COMMANDER IN CHIEF 1856-1895
FROM THE SALE JUNE 1904
Prince Adolphus, 1st Duke of Cambridge, KG, (1774-1850) was seventh son of George III and Queen Charlotte. The Prince was an important silver patron like his uncle, the Duke of York, and his brothers, King George IVth and the Duke of Sussex. When he died in 1850, his full British title was: Field Marshal His Royal Highness The Prince Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Tipperary, Baron Culloden, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Member of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order. He was also a prince of the German royal house of Hanover
His only son, the 2nd Duke of Cambridge, (1818-1904) served as Field Marshall and Commander in Chief of the British Army from 1856-95. When he died in 1904 many of 1st and 2nd Duke's possessions were sold at a Christies sale held June 6th & 7th of that year. This egg frame was lot number 242 of that sale, selling for £34, 15 shillings to Spinks, the esteemed antiques firm. Other silver from the Duke's collection at the sale include this soup tureen
, now owned by the royal family.
All pieces (aside from the aforementioned spoons) are fully hallmarked by Rebecca Emes and Edward Barnard along with the lion passant, sovereign's head, leopard's head crowned and the 'O' date mark of 1809/10. The frame measures 7.75 inches long by 5.75 inches wide by 7.5 inches high. It weighs 40.80 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition.