Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    England (designed and made)

  • Date:

    ca.1850-1878 (designed and made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    George John Cayley, born 1826 - died 1878 (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver, raised and embossed

  • Credit Line:

    Bequest of Hugh Cayley

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

George John Cayley (1826-78), son of the MP Edward Stillingfleet Cayley, was an eccentric.. Besides dabbling in poetry and writing a light-hearted book on travels in Spain, he was a gifted artist (he illustrated some of his own books) and a craftsman known for his metalwork. In 1862 he and the painter George Frederick Watts worked together to design the challenge shield for a shooting championship at Wimbledon. He was also one of the more left-wing Cayleys of the 19th century – and a keen tennis player.

In 1870 he went to live in Algiers to try and improve his health. There he played tennis as long as his health permitted — “longer, it might be said” according to recollections of him in a 1909 edition of his Spanish travel book. This was shortly before lawn tennis as we know it became established. During spells in England he worked with a carpenter and cabinet-maker, William Button Maslen from near Swansea, to develop new types of tennis racket. In January 1875 the Edinburgh Review, which is still in existence, published his article Lusio Pilaris and Lawn Tennis, which was the first ever article on lawn tennis.

Physical description

Tray, silver, pentagonal, the base formed by one, the sides by five pentagons, each filled by an embossed five petalled flower set against a matted background.

Place of Origin

England (designed and made)


ca.1850-1878 (designed and made)


George John Cayley, born 1826 - died 1878 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver, raised and embossed


Height: 14.5 cm, Width: 15 cm, Depth: 2.5 cm

Object history note

Bequest of Hugh Cayley, the son of the artist.

Historical context note

There is a photograph of George John Cayley, taken by Camille Silvy dated the 8th of January, 1862 in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG Ax56645). The photograph was taken in the photographer's studio at 38 Porchester Terrace, Bayswater.

Descriptive line

Tray, silver, England, no hallmarks, designed and made by George John Cayley, ca.1850-1878.




Raising; Embossing

Subjects depicted



Food vessels & Tableware; Metalwork; Silver

Production Type



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.