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Chafing dish and cover
  • Chafing dish and cover
    Benson, William Arthur Smith, born 1854 - died 1924
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Chafing dish and cover

  • Place of origin:

    London, England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1895 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Benson, William Arthur Smith, born 1854 - died 1924 (designer)
    W. A. S. Benson and Co. Ltd. (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    [Dish] Copper, electroplated on the inside with silver

  • Credit Line:

    Formerly in the collection of Charles and Lavinia Handley-Read.

  • Museum number:

    M.38 to E-1972

  • Gallery location:

    Metalware, room 116, case 1

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William Arthur Smith Benson, the designer and maker of this dish, was born in London, educated at Winchester and Oxford, and later articled to the architect Basil Champneys. After meeting William Morris, whom he had admired, Benson was inspired to set up a workshop for the manufacture of metalwork in 1880. He later opened a well-equipped factory in Hammersmith and, in about 1887, a shop in Bond Street. The firm survived until he retired in 1920. Benson was an active member of the Art Worker???s Guild from 1884, a leader in the formation of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society from 1886 and wrote an essay on metalwork in the catalogue of the first exhibition in 1888. On Morris???s death in 1896, Benson became chairman of Morris & Co., for which he designed furniture and wallpapers. In 1914 he was a founder member of the Design and Industries Association.

Benson???s firm produced some simple furniture but his main output was well-designed utilitarian metalwork, including lamps, teapots, dishes and food warmers. These items were usually made in copper and brass but sometimes in electroplate (a base metal, such as copper, covered with silver by electrolysis). Benson had always been interested in engineering and, unlike so many of his Arts and Crafts contemporaries, had little compunction about using the machine.

Physical description

[Stand] Two-tiered stand consisting of a tray with a stepped swage, supported by four brass baluster legs rising from a flat base with scroll ends forming feet. The base holds the brass spirit burner.
[Dish] The dish is of oval form, with the maker's mark BENSON.
[cover (closure)] The cover is domed and electro-plated on the inside, with an urn-shaped brass finial.

Place of Origin

London, England (made)


ca. 1895 (made)


Benson, William Arthur Smith, born 1854 - died 1924 (designer)
W. A. S. Benson and Co. Ltd. (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

[Dish] Copper, electroplated on the inside with silver

Marks and inscriptions

[Stand] BENSON


Height: 20.3 cm, Length: 31.1 cm, Width: 18.1 cm

Object history note

Exhibition R.F.2002/1174

Descriptive line

Chafing dish and cover with two-tiered copper stand, made by W.A.S. Benson & Company, English, ca. 1895

Exhibition History

Arts and Crafts Metalwork (Blackwell House, Cumbria 23/07/2003-02/11/2003)





Collection code


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