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Egg Cup, part of set

ca. 1810
Origin: England, Birmingham
Ht.: 2 3/4"; Diam. at lip: 2 1/2"; Diam. at foot: 1 1/2"
Fused silverplate (Sheffield Plate); gold (gilt lined)
Bequest of Dr. Lowry Dale Kirby.
Acc. No. 1991-715,3
Circular, weighted base with stepped edge and plain neck supports deep cup with gadrooning at lower third and edged with six radiating arcs, with reeding and with six small acanthus leaves at junctures of arcs. Interior of cup is gilded.
Label:Dr. Lowry Dale Kirby of Nashville, TN left a major collection of Sheffield plate to Colonial Williamsburg including this beautiful Sheffield plate egg frame with six cups which follows the pattern of egg frames first introduced in the late 18th century. This particular egg frame with gilt lined egg cups for boiled eggs was made ca. 810 in Birmingham, England by Matthew Boulton and is a departure from the plain egg cups normally found in 19th century pieces. The gilt lining on the cups in addition to beautifying the piece reduced the amount of tarnish from the egg yolks and salt. It has two engraved crests on the handle.

The sulfur in egg yolks causes silver and copper to tarnish very quickly. The gilding inside of these egg cups helped protect them from wear.
Provenance:Ex Coll: Dr. Lowry Dale Kirby, Nashville, TN
Mark(s):Marked incuse on underside of egg cup with 1) a sun; 2) an oak leaf; and 3) a sun. This combination of marks is not published.