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Dish or platter

1821
Origin: England, London
OL: 15 13/16"; OW: 12 3/8"; W (rim): 1 5/16"
Pewter
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2001-833
Serving dish or platter made for the coronation dinner of George IV of England and inscribed with his crest and initials. Bearing the touch of a lion rampant above a crown and the maker's name, possibly Alderson
Label:Alderson, noted for his dinnerware, is particularly remembered for supplying the large pewter service for the coronation banquet of George IV, of which this platter is a piece. The Observer for July 30, 1821 described the banquet held at Westminster Hall,

"As soon as His Majesty had risen and passed through the avenue behind the throne, accompanied by the great officers of State and his Royal brothers, the gathering crowd, by a simultaneous rush, in a moment surrounded the Royal table. For a few seconds delicacy, or a disinclination to be the first to commence the scene of plunder, suspended the projected attack, but at last a rude hand having been thrust through the first ranks, and a golden fork having been seized, this operated as a signal to all and was followed by a general snatch. In a short time all the portable articles were transferred into the pockets of the multitude….

The individuals in the galleries, who had hitherto remained passive spectators to the operations beneath, and many of whom had, for some unfortunate omission in the regulations prescribed by the Lord Great Chamberlain, remained the whole of the day without refreshment, poured down the different stairs and passages to the festive board, which having been vacated by the Peers and other guests who had long before satiated their appetites, was attacked by a vigor only in proportion to the actual exhaustion of the assailants. A raging thirst was the first want to be satisfied, and in a very few moments every bottle on the board was emptied of its contents…

While some were thus occupied, others still pursued the work of plunder. Arms were everywhere seen stretched forth breaking and destroying the table ornaments, which were of themselves too cumbrous to remove, for the purpose of obtaining some trophy commemorative of the occasion,...and finally the plates and dishes. These last were of pewter, engraved with the royal arms and the letters "Geo. IV" [actually "G IV R" in ornamented script with royal crown above], and were therefore greatly coveted." (Quoted in SHORT HISTORY OF THE WORSHIPFUL COMPANY, p. 89)

A soup tureen and cover, a sauceboat, a salt, soup and sauce ladles, dinner and soup plates, and oval dishes, all a part of the coronation service, are in the collection of the Pewterers' Company of London.

A further oval dish of immense size, also by Alderson, which measures no less than thirty-six inches in length, was part of the centerpiece on the same day for another banquet. The elaborate inscription engraved in its well informs that "On The Day of the Coronation of King George the fourth/19th July 1821/A Baron of Beef Wt 200 lbs/Was served upon this Dish as part of an Entertainment./Given to 700 children in/Kingston Market Place." This great dish is in the Kingston Museum and Heritage Service, near London.

Provenance:Purchased from Sumpter Priddy III, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia.
Mark(s):Touch mark a demi-lion rampant regardant holding a small object between its paws and issuing from a mural crown with a pellet to the left and a mullet to the right framed by "THOMAS" and "ALDERSON" within curved reserves above and below on underside of well (Cotterell 40). Secondary marks (1) a label "LONDON/SUPERFINE" in curved arrangement in an oblong reserve of scalloped outline on underside of well (Cotterell 40) and (2) quality "X" to left of touch mark on underside of well.
Inscription(s):"GR" in ornamented script enclosing "IV" with royal crown above for King George IV engraved on face of rim.