A fabulous silver plated potato or dish ring, dating to approximately the late 18th century. These rings were popular in the second half of the 18th century and then for a brief period in the early 20th century. They were used as a serving piece on tables or sideboards and were intended to hold hot dishes of food, keeping them off polished wooden surfaces. As with this example, they were often tapered in shape with a smaller opening at one end, allowing different sized dishes to be supported. They are often known as Irish Potato Rings because they were most prevalent in Ireland, but they were also found in France and England.
This example is silver plated on copper, possibly Sheffield plate, and is in the usual spool shape with a wider opening at one end. It is lavishly decorated with embossing, piercing and chasing and features a bucolic, pastoral scene with Chinoiserie elements, a style of design popular in the 18th century. A curious oriental looking figure points towards a pagoda-type building, and there is a strange brick-built pyramid surrounded by sheep. The buildings appear to be architectural follies, as often constructed in parkland owned by wealthy landowners in the 18th century. There is a vacant cartouche to one side surrounded by flowers and leaves. Also featured are a cow and a bird, with a scrolled border running underneath. The detail is picked out with dense chasing and embossing. It really is a very attractive piece.
It does not bear any maker's marks as is common on old Sheffield plate.
It is in good condition with minor wear commensurate with its age. There is some wear to the plating with the copper showing through in places, giving it a warmth and depth that is very appealing.