Centenarian In Memorium Silver Cake Basket, 1785

Georgian silver cake basket celebrating centagenarian
Georgian silver cake basket celebrating centagenarian DSCN9254 v3 DSCN9255 v2 DSCN9256 v2 DSCN9257 DSCN9258 v2 DSCN9259 v2 DSCN9261 v2 DSCN9262


Cake Basket - Oval with Swing Handle - London 1785 by Thomas Chawner - 37.5cm x 27cm; 28cm high (handle up); 806g - DK/5757

This beautiful silver basket has the added bonus of an intriguing engraved in memorium inscription to the underside that celebrates the life of a centenarian who spanned the second half of the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries.

The basket is the epitomy of elegance and is decorated in the Neo-classical taste. It takes a large oval form with hinged swing handle and stands on a bead-decorated ring foot. This type of basket was generally used for presenting cake/biscuits or fruit. The sides of the basket are beautifully pierced and engraved with swags and festoons. To the centre is an original engraved crest featuring a bull's head erased. 

To the underside is the stand-out bonus - it is engraved in script:

"Mary Pickman baptised at Henley 21st Aug. 1741

Mary Field widow buried at Upton 16th March 1844"

This shows that Mary Field (nee Pickman) was 102 years old when she passed away, which at this date would have been such a rare occurrence that it was deemed necessary for it to be celebrated by turning this basket (likely to have been owned by Mary Field) into an In Memorium item.

The basket is in fabulous condition with neither damage nor repair and is clearly hallmarked for London 1785 adjacent to the hinge with the maker's mark unusually struck to the underside - it is mis-struck but appears to be TC for Thomas Chawner.