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Syrian; M.J. Franklin Collection of British Biscuit Tins

  • Object:

    Biscuit tin

  • Place of origin:

    Reading, England (made)

  • Date:

    1903 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Huntley, Boorne & Stevens (manufacturer)
    Huntley & Palmers (made for)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tin-plate, offset litho printed with embossing

  • Credit Line:

    Given by M. J. Franklin

  • Museum number:

    M.297-1983

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, room 125b, case 2

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The British biscuit tin came about when the Licensed Grocer's Act of 1861 allowed groceries to be individually packaged and sold. Coinciding with the removal of the duty on paper for printed labels. It was only a short step to the idea of printing directly on to tinplate. The new process of offset lithography, patented in 1877 allowed multicoloured designs to be printed on to exotically shaped tins.

The most exotic designs were produced in the early years of the 20th century, just prior to the First World War. In the 1920s and 1930s, costs had risen substantially and the design of biscuit tins tended to be more conservative, with the exception of the tins targeted at the Christmas market and intended to appeal primarily to children. The designs, generally speaking are a barometer of popular interests.

The advent of the Second World War stopped all production of decorative tin ware and after it ended in 1945, the custom never really revived.

Physical description

Biscuit tin made of tinplate, offset litho printed and embossed in the form of an hexagonal, Islamic coffee table.

Place of Origin

Reading, England (made)

Date

1903 (made)

Artist/maker

Huntley, Boorne & Stevens (manufacturer)
Huntley & Palmers (made for)

Materials and Techniques

Tin-plate, offset litho printed with embossing

Dimensions

Height: 16.6 cm, Width: 18.9 cm

Object history note

Manufactured by Huntley, Boorne & Stevens for Huntley & Palmers, both in Reading, Berkshire

Descriptive line

'Syrian' biscuit tin, tinplate with offset lithography printing, M.J. Franklin Collection of British Biscuit Tins, made by Huntley, Boorne & Stevens, Reading, 1903

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

Michael Franklin, British Biscuit Tins, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1984, ISBN. 0905209621

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Decorative and imaginative tins were used by Victorian manufacturers to sell their biscuits from 1868. Christmas was the key time of the year for sales. Manufacturers competed with more inventive ideas, such as this one in the shape of an Indian-style table. The manufacturer produced 35,000 tins in this shape in 1903. [27/03/2003]
'SYRIAN', 1903
Made for Huntley & Palmers.
Museum No. M.297-1983 [07/1994]

Materials

Tinplate

Techniques

Embossing; Offset lithography

Categories

Containers; Metalwork; Portraits; Children & Childhood; Eating; Food vessels & Tableware

Collection code

MET

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Qr_O78534
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