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Rebecca Emes & Edward Barnard Pair of English Sterling Silver Muffin or Breakfast Dishes, London, 1827/28, on Antique Sheffield Plate Stands

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This is an exceptional pair of serving or breakfast dishes . The sterling circular dishes are decorated with a wonderfully scalloped edge. The dishes are fitted for the high-domed, lobed lids with repoussed foliate decoration. Wonderful handles of boldly cast water lilies in bloom surmount the lids. One cartouche is engraved with a coat of arms, the other with a crest. The antique Sheffield plate bases, which can be used for heating or cooling, also consist of two pieces - the removable liner and base. Applied to the base are two handles with their original turned ivory and four bun feet also fitted with ivory pads.

As is the case with most Sheffield, the bases and their inserts are not marked. They do, however, have their original scratch marks which match the scratch marks on the sterling parts. The sterling bases are fully hallmarked. The dome covers are marked with the maker's mark, lion passant, sovereign's head and 'm' date mark for 1827/28. One finial is marked with the Emes & Barnard maker's mark and the lion passant. The other is marked with Edward Barnard's first mark in use after the Emes & Barnard partnership (registered February of 1829). It is unclear whether this finial is an early replacement or was marked differently due to these being from a large service which was completed over a period of time. (One year would not be a long time for a large order to be completed.)

Each dish measures 9.5 inches across the handles by 6 inches high. The sterling dishes and covers have a combined weight of 52.10 troy ounces and are in very good/excellent antique condition.

Rebecca Emes was one of England's most famous women silversmiths. She was the widow of the important silversmith John Emes and went into partnership with Edward Barnard not long after John's death in 1807. Their firm made some exceptional silver during the early 19th century, some of their items being sold by the Royal Goldsmiths, Rundell, Bridge and Rundell - the same firm that retailed Paul Storr's silver. (See Women Silversmiths). Edward Barnard registered his first mark in partnership with three sons on 29 February 1829, presumably after the death or retirement of Rebecca Emes. The Barnard firm is also noted for fabricating exceptional silver throughout the 19th century.

Provenance: The dishes bear the arms and crest of Sir John Gerard, 12th Baronet. John succeeded his uncle as 12th Baronet on 2 August 1826 and these pieces more than likely were part of a large service ordered after his inheritance. In 1827 he married Monica Standish and could have ordered more silver at that time, although typically her arms would have been included if the order were placed after the marriage. His London residence was at 4 Great Stanhope St. and his country estate was Gareswood Hall, Bryn, Lancaster. Typically, silver moved from city to country with the owner.