c1800 Bilston Lattice Edge Enamel Friendship Oval Dish


A lovely early 19th century Bilston lattice edge oval shaped enamelled and painted Dish in nice condition.

This tray is typically French in design and has a feminine feel to it. It shows the inner bowl decorated with a pedestal on which rest 2 hearts (although they look more like 2 turnips) and the text: TOUJOURS UNIS PAR L’AMITIE (Always United by Friendship). It is surmounted by sashes and surrounded by flowers. All of this has been hand painted on a white enamel base. The outside is pink enamelled. These dishes were often used as gaming trays or bowls for card games, such as Quadrille, but tend to have cards or suit symbols in the decoration. The dish is in good condition except on the lattice edge, where the enamel has fallen off the copper in parts.

The first enamel miniatures were made in France in the 17th century where goldsmiths and enamelers produced miniature works of art on tiny boxes. European traders introduced these miniature enamels to China in the 17th century, where the Emperor Kangxi set up craftsmen to make similar miniature enamels. Miniature enamels were introduced to Britain later, in the 1740s. Enamel trinket boxes, known as bibelots, became highly fashionable and collectable luxuries in the high society of mid-18th century Georgian England, with many French enamelers settling in South Staffordshire and Bilston in particular. They soon became a famous and well-respected enamelling centre, serving the King and the gentry alike, and enriching the aesthetic nature of Georgian society. The economic downturn in Britain’s fortunes wipe out the production by the 1840s.

Size: 8 x 6.25 x 3.5 cm (3 1/8 x 2 ½ x 1 3/8 inches)
Weight: 51g