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Debden Manor "An Architect's Eye, A Collector's Passion"
435 lots | 413 with images
October 15, 2013
Stansted Mountfitchet, CM24 8GE United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0)1279 817778
Fax: +44 (0)1279 817779
Description: THE VIRGINIA CHAPMAN COLLECTION OF SARDINE BOXES PART 1 Tinned sardines, now somewhat unfashionable if not unpalatable, were, in the 1870s, one of the first satisfactorily-tinned foods - and something of a sensation. During the first years of the Napoleonic Wars, the French government had offered a cash award of 12,000 francs to any inventor who could devise a cheap and effective method of preserving large amounts of food. Food availability for the large armies of the period had become a factor limiting military campaigns to the summer and autumn months. In 1809, a French confectioner and brewer, Nicolas Appert, observed that food cooked inside a jar did not spoil unless the seals leaked, thus he developed a method of sealing food in glass jars. (The reason for lack of spoilage was unknown at the time and it would be another 50 years before Louis Pasteur demonstrated the role of microbes in food spoilage). Due to the difficulty in transporting glass containers, these were largely replaced in commercial canneries with cylindrical tin or wrought-iron canisters, later shortened to 'cans'. As one of the first canned foods available, sardines were a high status food and they remained somewhat 'exotic'. They were often detailed in cookbooks of the time as a side dish or relish to the soup course and sardine dishes were thus produced for serving them at the table. Fortuitously, Stoke on Trent, had 'rediscovered' Renaissance maiolica, tin-glazed earthenware, which was, in the 19th century, mostly spelled 'majolica', now the term for the later pieces. Typically, the Victorians went far further with their glazes than had the early potters and a riot of brilliantly-coloured pots issued from the Staffordshire bottle kilns. Amongst them were sardine dishes and it was common practice to treat one's guests to the tinned fish from an appropriately moulded majolica dish and cover. Many factories made them and amongst the most prized today are those from George Jones and Minton, which are represented in Virginia Chapman's collection. Two Wedgwood 'Sardinia' majolica boat-shaped sardine boxes and covers, c.1875, the bows and sterns moulded with fish on nets, the covers with anchor finials, impressed Wedgwood, THG and kite mark, inscribed 2646B and M2582, 25cm long (4)View additional info »
Description: A pair of George Jones majolica sardine boxes and covers, c.1875, the covers relief moulded with fish on a bed of seaweed, the rectangular boxes moulded to simulate basket weave, on fixed boat-shaped stands, impressed marks and registration lozenge inscribed 3547/111 and 3547/30 (4)View additional info »
Description: Four majolica sledge-shaped sardine boxes and covers, c.1880, 22.5cm long (8)View additional info »
Description: A majolica boat-shaped sardine box and cover, c.1875, the cover with a fish on a bed of seaweed, the body resembling a clinker-built boat, on an integral stand moulded to represent the sea, 24cm long (2)View additional info »
Description: A George Jones majolica sardine box and cover, c.1875, the cover moulded with a boy mending a net, the base with moulded swags of nets and ropes interspersed with mussel shells, applied George Jones mark, 16.5cm long, and a Wedgwood sardine box and cover, c.1880, the cover with a rope knot handle, moulded wooden planks, seaweed and shells, the base lapped by moulded waves and seaweed, impressed 'Wedgwood' and registration lozenge and inscribed 2832/5, 20.5cm long (4)View additional info »