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  • Place of origin:

    Birmingham (made)

  • Date:

    1923 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    V&A Reproduction Department (commissioned by)
    Elkington & Co. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 54, case 9

Object Type
This electrotype salver is a copy of a silver salver or 'wine waiter' in the Museum's collection (museum no. M.155-1915).

Ownership & Use
For fashionable society of the early 18th century, the service of wine at the dining table was an elaborate and formal affair. Silver played a prominent role, from tiny bottle tickets (labels hung from chains around the necks of bottles to identify their contents), to massive wine coolers (large containers filled with iced water in which bottles of wine were kept cool). Mixed drinks, such as brandy-based punches, were prepared at the table and served from silver punch bowls with ladles and strainers. In contrast, wine was poured into glasses at the sideboard and brought to the table by servants on salvers like this one. As the century progressed, a more elegant solution to bringing wine to the table was sought. The clear lead glass decanter came into common use by 1750.

Materials & Making
The technique of reproducing objects by electrotyping was first developed by the manufacturing firm of Elkington & Co. of Birmingham in the 1840s. Henry Cole (1808-1882), the first director of the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A), was quick to adopt this new technique to reproduce works of art. A plaster mould is made from an original object and used to make a cast in base metal. The model and an amount of plating metal are connected to electric terminals and placed in a container filled with a conductive solution. As it passes through, the electric current causes particles of the plating metal to be deposited on the surface of the model. The thickness of the plating can be regulated by the duration and voltage of the current. The plated object is then worked manually to erase imperfections.

Place of Origin

Birmingham (made)


1923 (made)


V&A Reproduction Department (commissioned by)
Elkington & Co. (maker)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 3 cm, Width: 15.5 cm, Depth: 15.5 cm

Object history note

Original made in London by John Suite
Made by Elkington & Co., Birmingham

Descriptive line

electrotype tray

Labels and date

British Galleries:

During the 18th century wine glasses were not set on the table before the meal, but brought to each diner on a salver or tray by a servant. When the glass was drained it was returned by the servant to the sideboard, then rinsed with water from the fountain and refilled. These glasses are modern reproductions. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

Reproducing a salver hallmarked for 7-1728; Original made in London by John Suite, Made by Elkington & Co., Birmingham




Metalwork Collection

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