Waiter thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 54

Waiter

1698-1699 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
A waiter is a small tray which held cups, or cards and letters, and was presented by a servant. Waiters were often made with feet to protect the surface on which they were placed. These examples are hexagonal in form, on six ball-and-claw feet.

Subjects Depicted
The scrolling acanthus motif is characteristic of the Baroque decorative style, often used in a balanced, symmetrical arrangement. The scrolled foliage on the border is interwoven with figures of playful putti and dogs. The cherubs framing the armorial cartouche rest on scrolled foliate brackets, another feature of Baroque ornament.

Design & Designing
Printed volumes of ornament were widely available throughout Europe at this time, and were the primary source of decoration for silversmiths and engravers. Engravings were faithfully copied or adapted as necessary to suit the form. Elements were also extracted to provide an entirely new composition devised by the engraver. Here, the border is based on a frieze from a set of engravings entitled Ornamenti di fregi e fogliami by Stefano della Bella. The cherubs holding a wreath are taken from the title page of the set of engravings, Diverses Figures a l'eau forte de petits Amours, by Abraham Bosse after the designs of the Italian painter and draughtsman Paolo Farinati.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silver gilt, cast, embossed, chased and engraved
Brief Description
Waiter, silver-gilt, London hallmarks for 1698-99, mark of Benjamin Pyne.
Physical Description
Hexagonal silver-gilt dish with four cast ball and claw feet with border engraved after a design by Stefano Della Bella and the arms after Simon Gribelin, chased ornament after Jean le Pautre (1618-82). The arms on a cartouche surrounded by foliations and surmounted by two cherubs holding a wreath, the rim chased and embossed with boys playing with dogs, the lower part of the bodies of each terminating in acanthus foliage; two dogs also appear amidst the foliage, the narrow border cast with palmettes.
Dimensions
  • Height: 3.5cm
  • Width: 21.7cm
  • Depth: 25cm
Dimensions checked: Publication; 22/01/1999 by DW
Marks and Inscriptions
  • London hallmarks for 1698 - 1699
  • Mark of Benjamin Pyne
  • Engraved with the arms of Sir William Courtenay of Powderham Castle, Devon (1628-1702)
Gallery Label
British Galleries: The engraver Simon Gribelin (1661-1733) used two older French designs as inspiration for the border and the cartouche. Such designs became fashionable in London after 1680. In 1700 Gribelin himself published similar designs.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Acquired under the Bryan Bequest
Object history
Made in the London workshop of Benjamin Pyne (died in 1732)

Engraved with the arms of Sir William Courtenay of Powderham (1628-1702)
Subjects depicted
Summary
Object Type
A waiter is a small tray which held cups, or cards and letters, and was presented by a servant. Waiters were often made with feet to protect the surface on which they were placed. These examples are hexagonal in form, on six ball-and-claw feet.

Subjects Depicted
The scrolling acanthus motif is characteristic of the Baroque decorative style, often used in a balanced, symmetrical arrangement. The scrolled foliage on the border is interwoven with figures of playful putti and dogs. The cherubs framing the armorial cartouche rest on scrolled foliate brackets, another feature of Baroque ornament.

Design & Designing
Printed volumes of ornament were widely available throughout Europe at this time, and were the primary source of decoration for silversmiths and engravers. Engravings were faithfully copied or adapted as necessary to suit the form. Elements were also extracted to provide an entirely new composition devised by the engraver. Here, the border is based on a frieze from a set of engravings entitled Ornamenti di fregi e fogliami by Stefano della Bella. The cherubs holding a wreath are taken from the title page of the set of engravings, Diverses Figures a l'eau forte de petits Amours, by Abraham Bosse after the designs of the Italian painter and draughtsman Paolo Farinati.
Associated Object
M.77-1947 (Pair)
Bibliographic Reference
Turner, Eric. An Introduction to English Silver from 1660, London, HMSO, 1985, p.11. ill.
Collection
Accession Number
M.77A-1947

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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