Not currently on display at the V&A

Soup Plate

1868 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

William Burges designed a set of 24 soup dishes for the Marquess of Bute, probably in 1867-68. The drawings survive in the Bute archive. Each carried a visual pun, i.e. a sheep dressed as a highlander for Scotch broth. Presumably this specimen was designed for hare soup.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Silver, raised and engraved
Brief description
Soup plate, silver, Birmingham hallmarks for 1867-68, mark of John Hardman and Company, designed by William Burges for John Patrick Crichton Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute.
Physical description
Soup plate, silver, circular witrh a raised moulded border, decorated with two fillets, the arms of the Marquess of Bute in the centre of the inscription in Lombardi script, distributed between four engraved lines. Deep circular depression with an applied roundel in the centre with a border of four fillets enclosing a composition of a hare wearing a sword belt and scabbard, but dropping his sword and buckler, between two truncated trees, one with a singing bird and the other with a parrot.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 27.5cm
Style
Production typeProof
Marks and inscriptions
  • IOHANNES / PATRICIUS / CRICHTON / STUART / MARCHIO:DE / BUTA:ME / FIERI:FECIT / MDCCCLXVIII (Inscribed on the edge of the plate.)
    Translation
    John Patrick Crichton Stuart, Marquess of Bute, had me made, 1868
  • L / EPU / S P / AV / ID / US (Inscribed in the centre of the plate.)
    Translation
    Frightened hare
Gallery label
SOUP PLATE Silver, with an engraved medallion of a startled hare. BIRMINGHAM; hallmark 1867-8 Maker's mark of John Hardman and Company. Designed by William Burges (1827-1881) for John Patrick Crichton Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute. Given by Thomas Lumley M.59-1981. William Burges designed a set of 24 soup plates for the Marquess of Bute, this was almost certainly a trial plate. The drawings survive in the Bute archive, and each carried a visual pun eg. a sheep dressed as a highlander for Scotch broth. Presumably this specimen was designed for hare soup.(Pre-2000)
Credit line
Given by Thomas Lumley
Object history
William Burges designed a set of 24 soup dishes for the Marquess of Bute, probably in 1867-68. The drawings survive in the Bute archive. Each carried a visual pun, i.e. a sheep dressed as a highlander for Scotch broth. Presumably this specimen was designed for hare soup. A dish engraved with an identical hare medallion is among the 24 dishes still in the possession of the present Marquess, so that this specimen is additional to the set. There are differences, however, which became obvious when the present Marquess took his hare soup dish to Thomas Lumley's premises to compare it with the one in the latter's possession. Firstly, the specimen given to the Museum by Mr. Lumley has never been gilt; secondly, the depression is deeper in the V&A example.

The gift of the soup dish was made in time for it to be included ex-catalogue in the exhibition, The Stange Genius of William Burges, held at the V&A in 1981. Two soup dishes and two fish plates, lent anonymously by Lord Bute, were shown as cat.no. C.75 but the description is erroneous, as it describes the device as enclosed in an eight printed star which applies to the fish plate but not to the soup plates.

It is presumed that the V&A soup plate was a trial piece which Burges had in his own collection. It was acquired by James Sanders of J.W. Walker & Sons for his company collection; identified by Shirley Bury when shown it by Jean Schofield (then acting as his curator) but sold to Thomas Lumley without the information being passed on. Mr Lumley assumed that it had been designed by J.H. Powell, Pugin's pupil and son-in-law, but on learning that it was a Burges piece generously presented it to the V&A.
Subjects depicted
Summary
William Burges designed a set of 24 soup dishes for the Marquess of Bute, probably in 1867-68. The drawings survive in the Bute archive. Each carried a visual pun, i.e. a sheep dressed as a highlander for Scotch broth. Presumably this specimen was designed for hare soup.
Bibliographic reference
Turner, Eric, An Introduction to English Silver from 1660 (V&A Introductions to the Decorative Arts), London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1985. p.33. ill.
Collection
Accession number
M.59-1981

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Record createdJune 24, 2009
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