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Sugar caster

Sugar caster

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1762-1763 (hallmarked)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Delmestre, John (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver, embossed and engraved

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by W. J. Johnson

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118a, case 5 []

Object Type
Sets of casters developed in the late 17th century. The sugar caster was usually larger than the other vessels. Most casters have a pierced top, as here, for sprinkling the condiments. On the grandest tables, the sets of casters would be grouped around an epergne (an ornamental table piece, often with several bowls) displaying fruit, so that the guests could help themselves to the condiments.

Casters were made in a variety of styles reflecting the fashionable taste of the time. Most have an upright, vertical form, such as a cylinder, vase or pear shape, which can be easily held. The cover is generally in the form of a dome. The plain or octagonal pear-shaped casters, from which this caster derives, first made their appearance in 1700-1710.

Casters could be bought singly, as a set of three or six, or as part of a centrepiece set. In 1750 the goldsmith George Wickes supplied a set of silver casters to a Mr Mead for £13 9s 2d, but he also made a silver vase caster for the Hon. Arthur Hill for £14 11s 6d. The high cost of the vase caster must reflect elaborate and expensive decoration.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1762-1763 (hallmarked)


Delmestre, John (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver, embossed and engraved

Marks and inscriptions

Engraved with a swan rising from a coronet


Height: 17.5 cm, Diameter: 6.4 cm

Object history note

Made in London by John Delmestre (active from 1755)

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This sugar caster is typical of the fashionable dining objects owned by wealthy families in the late 18th century. It was placed in a prominent postion on the table and used to accompany a rich dessert. Casters were also used for sprinkling salt, pepper, mustard powder and other spices on food. [27/03/2003]


Metalwork; Food vessels & Tableware


Metalwork Collection

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