Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Dish

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1681-1682 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver, engraved

  • Credit Line:

    Lent by the Rector and Churchwardens of St. Mary-le-Strand with St. Clement Danes

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:ST MARY STRAND.8

  • Gallery location:

    Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries, case 2A

The salver is part of a large set of altar plate that Elinor James, the widow of a London printer, gave to St Benet Paul’s Wharf in 1711. After her death in 1719, the set was transferred to the church of St Mary-le-Strand.

The dish is hallmarked for 1681–2 and engraved ‘ITE’. These initials, along with the fashionable chinoiserie decoration, suggest that it was present for Thomas and Elinor James in 1681 and meant for domestic use.

Further inscriptions record its later use in church: ‘E.I. to E.B.1711’ and ‘This is Dedicated to ye God of Charity by which man is in hopes to attain Eternal salvation. O blessed is the man that is Endowed with that Heavenly gift. I rest Elinor James’.

The long inscription reflects the obsessive piety of the donor. Elinor James was a champion of the Church of England. Described by a contemporary as a ‘mixture of benevolence and madness’, she was intolerant of Roman Catholics and dissenters alike. In 1689 she was committed to Newgate Prison for libel on account of her book The Vindication of the Church of England.

Other items in the set consisted of two flagons, a cup, a paten and a crimson velvet altar cloth. Presumably, the dish would have been used to serve the communion bread.

Physical description

Dish

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1681-1682 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silver, engraved

Marks and inscriptions

Maker's mark SH and 'E.I. to E.B.1711' and 'ITE'.'This is Dedicated to ye God of Charity by which man is in hopes to attain Eternall salvation. O blessed is the man that is Endowed with that Heavenly gift. I rest Elinor James'.
The initials ITE stand for Thomas and Elinor James.

Dimensions

Diameter: 26.0 cm, Depth: 2 cm

Object history note

Given by Elinor James to S. Benet Paul's Wharf and transferred to St. Mary le Strand after her death.

Historical significance: Gifts of Elinor James
This plate comes from a larger set given by Elinor James in 1711. She was the widow of a London printer. Described by a contemporary as a ‘mixture of benevolence and madness’, she was an eccentric champion of the Church of England, intolerant of Roman Catholics and dissenters alike. In 1689 Elinor was committed to Newgate Prison for libel on account of her book The Vindication of the Church of England. The exceptionally long inscriptions on these objects reflect her obsessive piety.

Historical context note

Gifts to the Church
Gifts were the most important source of English church plate in the 17th century. The donor was usually a prominent member of the community, which in country parishes often meant the local landowner. But gifts came from other sources too. Many were given by women, showing their active involvement with the church. Churchwardens also took pride in commissioning new silver and often contributed to the cost. Occasionally, gifts like Lord Hertford’s chalice and flagon were made to win support for a political cause.

Not all of these gifts were new. Old-fashioned domestic plate, often richly decorated with secular ornament, was welcomed and used for the service of communion or the collection of alms.

Given by Elinor James at the same time as a set of silver-gilt altar plate consisting of two flagons, and a cup and paten with a crimson velvet altar cloth embroidered in silver with the sacred monogram 'IHS'.

Descriptive line

A silver-gilt secular dish, 1681, given by Elinor James for ecclesiastical use in 1711

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Freshfield, Edwin. The Communion Plate of the Parish Churches in the County of London. London: Rixon and Arnold, 1895.

Labels and date

Salver
The salver is part of a large set of altar plate that Elinor James, the widow of a London printer, gave to St Benet Paul’s Wharf in 1711. After her death in 1719, the set was transferred to the church of St Mary-le-Strand.

The dish is hallmarked for 1681–2 and engraved ‘ITE’. These initials, along with the fashionable chinoiserie decoration, suggest that it was present for Thomas and Elinor James in 1681 and meant for domestic use.

Further inscriptions record its later use in church: ‘E.I. to E.B.1711’ and ‘This is Dedicated to ye God of Charity by which man is in hopes to attain Eternal salvation. O blessed is the man that is Endowed with that Heavenly gift. I rest Elinor James’.

The long inscription reflects the obsessive piety of the donor. Elinor James was a champion of the Church of England. Described by a contemporary as a ‘mixture of benevolence and madness’, she was intolerant of Roman Catholics and dissenters alike. In 1689 she was committed to Newgate Prison for libel on account of her book The Vindication of the Church of England.

Other items in the set consisted of two flagons, a cup, a paten and a crimson velvet altar cloth. Presumably, the dish would have been used to serve the communion bread.

London, England, 1681–2; maker’s mark ‘SH’
Silver gilt
Lent by Rector and Churchwardens of St Mary-le-
Strand with St Clement Danes [22/05/2005]

Materials

Silver-gilt

Techniques

Engraving

Categories

Metalwork; Christianity; Religion

Collection

Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.