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Egg Cup Frame or Stand, part of set

ca. 1810
Origin: England, Birmingham
Ht.: 7"; Max. diam.: 8"
Fused silverplate (Sheffield Plate)
Bequest of Dr. Lowry Dale Kirby.
Acc. No. 1991-715,1
Egg cup frame comprised of four components: 1) flat base of stand with six radiating arcs, edged with reeding and with six small acanthus leaves at junctures of arcs; the whole supported on three shell, scroll, and foliate feet; 2) central cup support with flat scalloped base from which eminate six curved arms supporting six reeded rings joined by six short reeded arcs; 3) vertical handle with threaeded terminus and swelled shaft, central cartouche, and fixed loop handle with central ball and turnings flanked by acanthus scrolls; and 4) fixed wing nug nut to secure handle (3) and central support (2) to base (1) through rectangular appature in each component.
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 around 1810 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 cup support with symbols ascribed to Matthew Boulton, viz.:1) a sun; 2) an anthemion; and 3) a sun. See Gordon Crosskey, Old Sheffield Plate: A History of the 18th Century Plated Trade (2011), p. 368.
Inscription(s):Engraved with two unidentified armorial crests on the handle of the stand: 1) a lion rampant supporting a sword proper; and 2) a centaur proper drawing his bow and arrow.