Georgian Dish Cross, 1770
Dish Cross - Extendable legs - London 1770 by Richard Mills - 28.5cm across; 585g - KE/9253
This is a superb examples of a Georgian silver dish cross made by the versatile 18th century silversmith, Richard Mills.
Dish crosses were used on the dining table to keep food warm prior to being served: the central burner has a reservoir for holding spirit (paraffin) with a wick protruding from the central hole. This dish cross takes the usual form of two crossed square sections arms, centrally pivotted, with adjustable openwork legs and dish supports and a central spirit lamp. The whole piece can be folded for easy storage. The combined legs/dish holders telescope in and out to accommodate different sized plates.
Because of the way they work, dish crosses can be vulnerable to wear and damage, but this Georgian dish cross remains in excellent condition with tight legs and in perfect working order. This is partly because it is superior in quality to the majority that still exist - it has a good heavy weight and so feels stable in position, plus the legs/holders are superbly made and give a most pleasing effect.
There is a full set of slightly worn hallmarks to the underside of the central burner and appropriate part hallmarks inside the cover and to the four arms. It is in fine practicable condition and would make an interesting addition to a modern dining table.