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Shield - Milton Shield

Milton Shield

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1866 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Morel-Ladeuil, Leonard (maker)
    Elkington & Co. (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Damascened steel with inset plaques of silver

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122, case WW

Object Type
This shield was made especially for the Paris Exhibition of 1867. The elaborate and skilful workmanship on such a large scale was intended to raise the prestige and public awareness of the manufacturer, Elkington & Co. This in turn helped to sell the firm's standard mass-produced goods such as tea wares and cutlery.

The most successful designers in silver at this period were French. These included Leonard Morel-Ladeuil (about 1820-1888), who designed and made this shield. He worked for Elkington & Co. from 1859 after serving his apprenticeship in France with Antoine Vechte (1800-1868), the most famous of the silver designers. Vechte retired in 1862, and by the time of the Paris Exhibition five years later Morel-Ladeuil was considered by many to be the most important artist in this field. Work began on this shield in 1864 with the express intention of exhibiting it in 1867. At the exhibition it won a gold medal for the artist and received an enormously enthusiastic response. The Art Journal declared, 'There is a general impression that the work...is the best...exhibited during the memorable year of 1867'. The Museum bought the shield from the exhibition for the then huge sum of œ2,000.

Subjects Depicted
The theme was carefully chosen to celebrate the work of a great Englishman, the poet John Milton (1608-1674). The panels represent scenes from Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost. The central panel depicts the Archangel Raphael telling Adam and Eve of the 'war in heaven', when the Archangel Lucifer rebelled against God and was expelled from heaven by the Archangel Michael.

Physical description

Damascened steel with inset chased silver plaques. Executed by Leonard Morel-Ladeuil for Elkington & Co. The illustration from Milton's Paradise Lost represent in the central Medallion the archangel Raphael recounting to Adam and Eve the defeat of the rebel angels

Silver, embossed and oxidised, damascened iron

Place of Origin

London (made)


1866 (made)


Morel-Ladeuil, Leonard (maker)
Elkington & Co. (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Damascened steel with inset plaques of silver


Height: 87.6 cm, Width: 67.3 cm

Object history note

Made by Leonard Morel-Ladeuil for Elkington & Co., Birmingham. Purchased from the Exhibition.

Descriptive line

Display shield of chased and damascened steel inset with chased silver plaques depicting scenes form Milton's Paradise Lost, made by Leonard Morel-Ladeuil in London for Elkington & Co. of Birmingham, 1866, and shown at the Paris Exhibition of 1867.

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

Angus Patterson, "The Pompeian Lady Plaque", The Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, Vol. 19, June 2011, pp. 76-81, ill. p. 78
Angus Patterson, "The Perfect Marriage of Art and Industry: Elkingtons and the South Kensington Museum's Electrotype Collection", The Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, Vol. 20, June 2012, pp. 56-77, ill. p. 73
Philippa Glanville ed., Silver, V&A Publishing, London, 1996, p. 63

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This shield became one of the most celebrated pieces shown at the Paris Exhibition of 1867. It was designed and made by the French designer, Leonard Morel-Ladeuil, who began working for Elkington & Co. in 1859. He was employed specifically to produce large, intricately embossed pieces for presentation and exhibition. Exhibitions encouraged virtuoso displays of design and craftsmanship, quite divorced from industrial design and production. [27/03/2003]


Steel; Silver; Gold


Chasing; Forging; Damascening


British Galleries; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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