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Card case

Card case

  • Place of origin:

    Birmingham (made)

  • Date:

    1852 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Stanton, George (designer)
    Elkington & Co. (makers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver, parcel-gilt, with hinged lid and raised decoration

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This case would have held calling cards, which people presented when paying a formal visit in polite society. This example was shown at the Exposition Universelle of 1855 in Paris and at the International Exhibition, London, in 1862.

George C. Stanton, who designed it, worked for Elkington, Mason & Co, Birmingham. The firm specialised in electroplate and electrotypes and Stanton was employed as assistant to their chief designer. In this example he has been inspired by Italian Renaissance prints to create a modern piece for which the Museum paid £1.10s in 1854.

Place of Origin

Birmingham (made)


1852 (made)


Stanton, George (designer)
Elkington & Co. (makers)

Materials and Techniques

Silver, parcel-gilt, with hinged lid and raised decoration

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed: Elkington Mason & Co.


Height: 1.0 cm, Length: 9.6 cm, Width: 6.2 cm

Object history note

Napoleon and Victoria Exhibition RF.2007/800

Historical context note

The designer of the card George Stanton was a young artist working for Elkington, Mason and Company by the time of the International Exhibition of 1851. He was a graduate fo the Birmingham School of Design.

Descriptive line

Silver, parcel gilt, made by Elkington and Co. 1852, designed by George Stanton.

Labels and date

Card case
Elkington and Company
New technology helped the Victorian middle classes to copy the habits that had previously belonged only to people higher up the social scale. They paid formal visits to their acquaintances and left calling cards which they kept in special cases. This card case was made by the Birmingham firm of Elkington and Company, who patented electroplating. It is made of precious metals but they also supplied the market with cheaper substitutes for gold and silver.
[Label text for 'Museums and Schools: Coventry City of Innovation', Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry] [01/11/2013 - 31/03/2015]

Before modern transport people largely travelled on foot or on horseback. Useful everyday items needed to be carried comfortably on the body. Some were miniature versions of larger objects, others folded ingeniously to become portable. Often they were intricate and delicate.

These eleven items were personal possessions. Many were made before pockets were commonplace. Some were used in the workplace, some at home and some on the road.

Many have cases as stylish as the objects they protect. These cases came in a range of materials, from expensive ivory and sharkskin to cheaper leather and wood. Their decoration shows the same designs that adorn silver, ceramics and textiles.

All these objects give us interesting insights into work, leisure and social etiquette

Partially gilded silver
Birmingham, 1852
Designed by George Stanton; made by Elkington & Co.

In polite society, people would offer a 'calling card' when paying a visit. This card case was designed by George C. Stanton, assistant to the chief designer of the massive Birmingham firm of Elkingtons. Its design is based on Renaissance prints. In 1854 the Museum paid £1.10s for the case as an example of good contemporary metalwork.

Museum no. 1302-1854 []


Copper; Silver; Gold


Metalwork; Entertainment & Leisure; Personal accessories


Metalwork Collection

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