ANTIQUE SILVER BUTTER SHELLS DISHES
Antique Silver butter shells dishes Description:
A small dish, sometimes covered, used on the dining table to hold a butter pat, or individual butter scrolls.
Antique Silver butter shells dishes History:
Butter shells were made from the early part of the 18th century and are still being made today. The earliest covered butter dishes were made from about 1750, most being made in the Victorian period, and they are quite rare after the 1940s.
Antique Silver butter shells dishes Design:
The butter shells were reallistically modelled on, and roughly the same size as, scallop shells. They were made with either two or three feet often in the shape of conch shells or simple ball feet. The covered butter dishes were usually circular with a separate serving dish underneath, and a removable cover to protect the butter from insects. The cover often had a finial that reflected the dairy theme such as a cow.
Antique Silver butter shells dishes Collectors Note:
Butter shells, especially early 18th century ones, must be inspected closely to make sure that there are no cracks, and no repairs where the feet are attached to the body. The butter dishes are quite rare in silver and must have matching hallmarks on the main body, dish (if separate), and lid. If there is a removable finial it must also be marked with a part mark. Most covered butter dishes are made in the Victorian period from silver plate, with the main butter container being made from the hand-cut crystal.