William Burwash & Richard Sibley, English Regency Sterling Silver Octagonal Tea Tray, London, 1808/09 retailed by Joseph Brasbridge, Fleet Street, London
An exceptional example of English Regency silver, this tray is designed in an octagonal rectangle with a raised gadrooned edge and classical shells centering acanthus leaves at the corners. Stunning handles are cast in a bold scrolling foliate design adorned with shells. Adding to the classicism are four wonderful lion paw feet with scrolling volutes. Engraved in the center is a lovely foliate script 'JPG' set of initials.
William Burwash and Richard Sibley registered their partnership mark on October 7th, 1805. Arthur Grimwade in London Goldsmiths 1697-1837 Their Marks & Lives asserts (in his typical understated English way) that Sibley's work, 'whether alone or in partnership is of a high standard of design and execution in a restrained key of Regency taste.' (p.658 )
Joseph Brasbridge was one of the best retail silversmiths of his era, selling fine silver to members of the nobility including the Duke of Marlborough, The Duke of Argyle and others. Ultimately overshadowed by the royal goldsmiths Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, Brasbridge is better known today for his memoirs detailing both the history of Fleet Street and his propensity to gamble. (We suspect a very good read if you can find a copy.)
This impressive piece of Regency silver is fully marked on the back and also engraved with the '245.2' scratch weight. It is also engraved by the retailer 'Brasbridge fecit/ Fleet Street London'. This massive tray measures 30 inches across the handles by 21 inches deep and is in excellent condition.