Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries

Alms Dish

1864-1865 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Pugin probably designed this dish for Henry Drummond of Albury Park in Surrey, for whom he worked in 1848 and 1851. However, it was made after Pugin’s death. It recalls brass dishes exported from Nuremberg in the 16th century.

Lewisham parish church acquired the dish in 1885, and the engraved arms are those of the diocese of Rochester.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Silver-gilt
Brief description
Alms Dish, Silver-gilt, made by John Hardman and Co, probably designed by A.W.N. Pugin, 1864-1865
Physical description
Silver-gilt dish with on the outer rim a border of quatrefoils between crosshatching. In the bowl a design of spiralling lobes around the embossed crest of Drummond which holds a shield engraved with the arms of the See of Rochester.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 30.5cm
  • Height: 2cm
Marks and inscriptions
  • Birmingham hallmarks for 1864-5
  • Mark of John Hardman and Co
  • Embossed crest of Drummond
  • Engraved shield with arms of See of Rochester
  • Engraved on reverse " Lewisham Parish Church Easter 1885"
Gallery label
Alms Dish Pugin probably designed this dish for Henry Drummond of Albury Park in Surrey, for whom he worked in 1848 and 1851. However, it was made after Pugin's death. It recalls brass dishes exported from Nuremberg in the 16th century. Lewisham parish church acquired the dish in 1885, and the engraved arms are those of the diocese of Rochester. Birmingham, England, 1864-5; probably designed by A.W.N. Pugin (1812-52), made by John Hardman & Co. Silver gilt Lent by the Vicar and Churchwardens of St Mary the Virgin, Lewisham(22/11/2005)
Credit line
Lent by the Vicar and Churchwardens of St Mary the Virgin Church, Lewisham
Historical context
The Gothic Revival
In the Victorian period a dramatic and profound change took place in religious life. Centred on a renewed interest in the Middle Ages, it affected the appearance of churches and how services were conducted. The influential architect A.W.N. Pugin promoted the Gothic as the true Christian style. Although Pugin was Catholic, his theory appealed to Anglicans of the Oxford Movement - radicals who hoped to restore pre-Reformation services to the Church of England.

The Cambridge Camden Society, founded in 1839, studied the past to identify the medieval architecture and furnishings that would be appropriate for the revived services. The society became an arbiter of style, offering an Anglicised version of the Gothic. By the 1870s some of the equipment normally found in Catholic worship, such as the ciborium, was appearing in Anglican churches.

It was not universally welcomed. Some observers found the incense, the altar cross and the emphasis on ritual scandalously 'Popish' or 'high church'.

The Gothic Revival in Europe
The Gothic revival in Europe owed more to nationalism than religious zeal. The completion of Cologne's medieval cathedral was an affirmation of German culture. In the Habsburg empire, Czechs and Hungarians similarly expressed national pride through Gothic architecture.

Champions of the Gothic claimed by the 1850s that the style was triumphant in Europe. But classical architecture remained a serious rival, even in church building. Much of the most important Gothic work was in church restoration. In Germany and France, goldsmiths like Franz Xaver Hellner supplied Gothic church furnishings.
Summary
Pugin probably designed this dish for Henry Drummond of Albury Park in Surrey, for whom he worked in 1848 and 1851. However, it was made after Pugin’s death. It recalls brass dishes exported from Nuremberg in the 16th century.

Lewisham parish church acquired the dish in 1885, and the engraved arms are those of the diocese of Rochester.
Bibliographic references
  • Carnegie, Moir. Church Plate in the Hundred of Blackheath. London: The Blackheath Press, 1939.
  • Duncan, Leland L. The Parish Church of St Mary, Lewisham, Kent, its Building and Rebuilding; with some account of the Vicars and Curates of Lewisham. London: Charles North, 1892.
Collection
Accession number
LOAN:ST MARY LEWISHA.7

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Record createdAugust 24, 2005
Record URL
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