Dish, silver, parcel-gilt and enamel, Birmingham, 1847-8, mark of John Hardman and Company, designed by A.W.N. Pugin.
Dish, silver, parcel-gilt and enamel. Circular; the print in the central depression enamelled in black, blue and green with thew arms and crest of Benson, bordered by spiralling ribbed convex lobes, gilt. Beyond, the inscription `+Henry Benson+Esquire+from his grateful friend A+W+Pugin+March XXVI+A+D+MDCCCXLVIII'. The edge of the depression filled with broad, concave lobes, also spiralling; the wide border engraved with a running pattern of trefoil-headed foliage. The mouldings at the edge and elsewhere, gilt.
Object Type This dish is one of the few manufactured items designed for use in the home by A.W.N. Pugin. Pugin designed it in collaboration with the Birmingham manufacturer John Hardman & Co. Most of their designs were for church furnishings. Design & Designing A.W.N. Pugin may have seen dishes with similar ornament in Italy, which he visited in 1847, a year before this piece was made. The manufacturers' ledger entry, dated 18 April 1848, records: 'Large Silver Dish in Florentine Pattern, with enamels in Centre of Arms. Dish beaten in sections etc. £37.15s'. The design originally came from Germany. Brass dishes from centres such as Nuremberg were exported and copied all over Europe between 1475 and 1525. People In 1847, A.W.N. Pugin wished to marry Helen Lumsdaine, a vicar's daughter, who promised to convert to Roman Catholicism. Her family did not approve and Henry Benson, a friend and neighbour of A.W.N. Pugin, tried unsuccessfully to reconcile the bride's family to the marriage. He was given the dish as a token of A.W.N. Pugin's gratitude.
Designed by A.W.N. Pugin (born in London, 1812, died in Ramsgate, Kent, 1852); made by John Hardman & Co., Birmingham. The surviving day books of Pugin's manufactures document all his designs for the firm. The following entry, dated 18th April, 1848, in the day book for 1845-49 refers to this piece: `A large Silver Dish in Florentine pattern, with Enamels in Centre of Arms.' Dish beaten in sections etc. 37-15s. The dish is referred to by Shirley Bury in the Victoria and Albert Museum Yearbook, 1, 1969, pp.85-96.
Given in memory of Lavinia and Charles Handley-Read by Mr. Thomas Stainton.
Location: British Galleries, room 122e, case 5