A SMALL COLLECTION OF ANTIQUE SILVER
AND OBJECTS OF VERTU

an article of Giorgio Busetto - www.silvercollection.it
for ASCAS - Association of Small Collectors of Antique Silver
a small collection of antique silver and objects of vertu
(click on images to enlarge)

A MISLEADING TEA COMPLEMENT: THE WASTE BOWL

Lucagnolo's (note 1) was a huge silver piece, used at the table of Pope Clement, into which he flung away bits of bone and the rind of divers fruits, while eating; ... [it] was adorned with two fine handles, together with many masks, both small and great, and masses of lovely foliage, in as exquisite a style of elegance as could be imagined ...

This description, given by Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571: famous for the golden figural salt cellar now at the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna) in his autobiography 'Vita', confirms that ort bowls, slop bowls, alms-dishes, voiders, waste-pots, waste bowls... (among the many names by which these items have been known), were used since ancient times. In their different shapes, measures and materials they are containers into which to put unwanted scraps and pieces of food in order to clear the plate.

By the middle of the eighteenth century, small circular or octagonal bowls were added also to the equipment necessary for the serving of tea. Slop bowls, as they were then called, were used for pouring out the remaining cold tea in a cup before pouring another.

It was not until the second half of the eighteenth century that the form became standard equipment of the tea table. In the classical period they became designated as slop basins, and in general were fashioned with a large basin form supported on a pedestal base.

In the nineteenth century the slop bowl continued as a circular basin without any handles or lid, and was almost twice as large as the sugar bowls in teasets. Often it had a wide projecting rim at this period, a practical measure taken against splashing during use.

Family of three at the tea: Richard Collins c. 1725 - Victoria and Albert Museum Family of three at the tea: Richard Collins c. 1725 - Victoria and Albert Museum (detail)

"Family of three at the tea", an oil painting by Richard Collins c. 1725, showing the Gay family and the silver tea equipment of the George I period, including, left to right, a covered sugar bowl, hexagonal tea canister with domed lid, hot milk (or hot water) jug, waste bowl and pyriform tea pot on a stand with a spirit lamp.
(note handless porcelain cups originally used to drink tea)

The shape of the waste bowl may result in a misidentification and usually a certain designation is possible only when it is part of a complete teaset or when coupled to its companion sugar bowl.

Often, a 'single' waste bowl is offered for sale, by unaware dealers, as more appealing ... sweetmeat bowl ... sugar bowl ... centerpiece ... or some other fancy designation.


 
waste bowl: Thomas William Brown, Wilmington, c. 1840 tea or coffee set: Thomas William Brown, Wilmington, c. 1840
waste bowl
Thomas William Brown, Wilmington,
c. 1840
tea or coffee set
Thomas William Brown, Wilmington,
c. 1840
waste bowl: Grosjean & Woodward for Tiffany, circa 1862 tea and coffee service Grosjean & Woodward for Tiffany, circa 1862
waste bowl: Grosjean & Woodward for Tiffany
tea and coffee service Grosjean & Woodward for Tiffany, circa 1862
teapot, coffee pot, waste bowl, milk creamer, sugar bowl
waste bowl: Dominick & Haff teaset: Dominick & Haff
waste bowl Dominick & Haff
teaset Dominick & Haff, New York,
teapot, kettle and stand, milk creamer, waste bowl, sugar bowl


waste bowl: Wallace tea and coffee service: Wallace
waste bowl Wallace
tea and coffee service,
Wallace, Wallingford, CT, pattern Sir Christopher
teapot, coffee pot, waste bowl, sugar bowl, milk creamer
Barbour Brother quadruple silver waste bowl Barbour Brother quadruple silver sugar bowl, milk creamer and waste bowl
Barbour Bros. Co. waste bowl
milk creamer, sugar bowl and waste bowl
Quadruple Plate, Barbour Bros. Co. Hartford, Connecticut, last quarter of 19th century


Theodore B. Starr waste bowl c. 1890 Theodore B. Starr tea and coffee service c. 1890
Theodore B. Starr waste bowl c. 1890
Theodore B. Starr five piece tea and coffee service c.1890
Reed & Barton waste bowl Reed & Barton Georgian Rose pattern tea and coffee service
Reed & Barton waste bowl
Reed & Barton Georgian Rose pattern tea and coffee five piece service


S. Kirk & Son waste bowl S. Kirk & Son tea and coffee service
S. Kirk & Son waste bowl
S. Kirk & Son tea and coffee five piece service
Tiffany waste bowl silver waste bowl silver waste bowl
teaset: sugar bowl, milk creamer, waste bowl, teapot


Endnote
(1) Lucagnolo da Jesi was a silversmith active in Rome around 1520, at the time of Pope Clemente VII. This is the description of Lucagnolo's work by Benvenuto Cellini: "... lavorava solamente di grosseria, cioč vasi bellissimi, et bacini e cose tali..." (...he made only large objects, as beautiful vases, basins and other similar items...)
Giorgio Busetto
- 2006-
www.silvercollection.it
- www.silvercollection.eu
English text revised by Jayne Dye
English home page
www.silvercollection.it


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