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Victorian Silverplate and Glass Sardine Box

Victorian Silverplate and Glass Sardine Box

$295.00

The rugged southwestern tip of England, jutting out into the Celtic Sea, was once home to a booming fishery business. From 1750 through the late 1800s, the county of Cornwall on that southwestern tip, became the epicenter to a thriving sardine industry. 

Known at the time as pilchards, the oily fish were harvested in large nets, processed locally and sold throughout the European continent. Sardines were preserved through the new canning industry which made it possible for the tiny sardine to become a mighty export item for Britain. Records from the area show that an incredible 8,000 tons were exported in 1847 alone!

Sardines became a popular food item during Victorian times, often served with a soup course. Isabella Beeton’s famous book of household management from that era also describes sardines as a compliment to a family tea. Serving sardines from a tin would have been considered a breach of etiquette and thus, the sardine box was born! A fashionable sardine box would draw attention to the fact that this Victorian delicacy was being served and an especially extravagant box reflected well on the family's social status.

Discovered at market in northern England, we are delighted to present this glorious Victorian Silverplate Sardine Box produced by the long-shuttered Cooper Brothers & Sons silversmiths of Sheffield. With a beautiful, curved edge frame fitted with its original pressed glass liner, the piece is raised on four ball feet and has an intricate, bead-detailed swing handle for ease of transport from the kitchen to the table. The gleaming silverplated lid and the base of the frame are both embellished with a decorative engraved pattern.

Originally used for an elegant presentation of sardines, this exceptional piece would also make a lovely butter or jam dish, bringing the rich aesthetic of the Victorian era to your table today.


Strictly one-of-a-kind and subject to prior sale. Circa 1890s. In excellent, restored antique condition. Measures: 7.5"H (including handle) x 5.5"W x 4.5"D.

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