Silver Serving Set

Astronomy

Accession Number: 2019.ast.220.1-7 (DAA-0068)

Description:

This is a tea serving set in silver electroplate consisting of seven pieces. There is a taller coffee pot (2019.ast.220.1) and a squatter tea pot (2019.ast.220.2). There are two sugar bowls. One has a plain edge (2019.ast.220.3) and the other scalloped one (2019.ast.220.5). There are two jugs: one of these is taller with a broad lip (2019.ast.220.5); the other is squat with a narrow lip (2019.ast.220.6). Each of these pieces sits on a relatively narrow circular base. The teapots both have hinged lids with decorative knobs that fall back to rest on ornamental outcrops on the handles.

There is also a silver platter in an oval shape with an etched pattern on the base (2019.ast.220.7)

Primary Materials:

Metal: Silver plated copper; Metal: Silver-plated Brass, Metal: Lead

Markings:

Etched or stamped on the base of the coffee pot: “PRIMROSE PLATE
CANADA
E.P. COPPER
LEAD MOUNTS
B.M. SPOUT
357”

Etched or stamped on the base of the squat teapot: “PRIMROSE PLATE
CANADA
E.P. COPPER
LEAD MOUNTS
B.M. SPOUT
357”

Etched or stamped on the base of the plain-rimmed sugar bowl: “Haddon Plate
E.P. Copper
LEAD MOUNTS
425”

Stamped on the base of the sugar bowl with the scalloped rim: “PRIMROSE PLATE
CANADA
E. P. COPPER
LEAD MOUNTS”

Etched or stamped on the base of the plain rimmed, taller jug: “Haddon Plate
E.P. Copper
LEAD MOUNTS
425”

Etched or stamped on the base of the squat jug with the scalloped rim: “PRIMROSE PLATE
CANADA
E.P. BRASS
357
LEAD MOUNTS”

Etched on the base of the plate: “VIKING PLATE
MADE IN CANADA
E.P. BRASS”

Dimensions (cm):

Taller teapot: Length = 28, Width = 17, Height = 23.5; Squat teapot: Length = 28.5, Width = 17, Height = 15; Length = 17, Width = 11.5, Height = 9.5; Scalloped sugar bowl: Length = 16, Width = 13, Height = 8.7; Taller jug: Length = 12, Width = 9.5, Height = 13.5; Squat jug: Length = 15.5, Width = 11, Heigth = 8; Plate: Length = 29.5, Width = 18, Height = 1.2

Function:

This tea service was presumably used in the David Dunlap Observatory “Founder’s Room”, when Mrs. Donalda Dunlap or others were entertaining visitors, guests or scientists to the Observatory.

Condition:

Very Good: Each of these pieces is tarnished, particularly on the exterior. They have not been recently polished. The interior of the coffee and tea pots is somewhat stained/browned. The interior of the taller jug shows evidence of rings where tarnish meets a duller but untarnished surface. The interior of the plain sugar bowl is tarnished; the interior of the scalloped one in very good condition. The interior of the scalloped jug is slightly tarnished.

The hinges on both teapots are in good condition. Handles and spouts remain firmly attached.

Associated Instruments: 2019.ast.159

Manufacturer:

Primrose Plate: Birks, Canada; Haddon Plate: Eatons, Canada (?); Viking Plate: ?

Date of Manufacture: 1920s-1930s

Provenance:

This tea set was presumably used in the David Dunlap Observatory “Founder’s Room”, when Mrs. Donalda Dunlap or others were entertaining visitors, guests or scientists to the Observatory. Until 2009, when the Observatory was sold, the tea set was kept at the Observatory. Then, it was moved to storage at the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto’s St George campus. In 2017, the service was moved to a new location in the McLennan Physics building.