Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    Birmingham (made)

  • Date:

    1847-1848 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    A.W. Pugin, born 1812 - died 1852 (designer)
    John Hardman & Co. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Parcel-gilt silver and enamel, engraved

  • Credit Line:

    Given in memory of Lavinia and Charles Handley-Read by Mr. Thomas Stainton.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122, case 5

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.

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.

Physical description

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.

Place of Origin

Birmingham (made)


1847-1848 (made)


A.W. Pugin, born 1812 - died 1852 (designer)
John Hardman & Co. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Parcel-gilt silver and enamel, engraved

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed in the centre '+Henry Benson+Esquire+from his grateful friend A+W+Pugin+March XXVI+A+D+ MDCCCXLVIII'


Height: 3.8 cm, Diameter: 41 cm

Object history note

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.

Descriptive line

Dish, silver, parcel-gilt and enamel, Birmingham, 1847-8, mark of John Hardman and Company, designed by A.W.N. Pugin.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The style of this dish imitates brass dishes first made in Germany in the 16th century which were also regularly traded with Italy. The designer, A.W.N. Pugin, would have known of these from his travels in Europe. The title suggests it may have been based on examples seen in Florence, Italy. [27/03/2003]


Silver; Gold; Enamel


Raising; Gilding; Enamelling; Engraving (incising)

Subjects depicted

Trefoil; Coats of arms; Lobes; Foliage




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.