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Victorian Silverplate and Glass Sardine Box

Victorian Silverplate and Glass Sardine Box

$395.00

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 thrilled to present this exquisite Victorian Silverplate Sardine Box. With a richly decorative pierced and engraved frame and original satin glass dish, the box is raised on four bun feet. The lid is embellished with an exceptional hand-engraved scene of several fish set within sea grasses. A shell with water spilling down from it is engraved above the fish at the top of the lid while decorative flourishes embellish each corner.

Elegant and lovely, with the rich aesthetic of the Victorian era, this magnificent, gleaming serving piece is sure to keep your sardines in style.


Strictly one-of-a-kind and subject to prior sale. Circa 1880s. In excellent, restored antique condition. Measures: 6.75"L x 6"W x 2.75"H.

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