This superb, large serving dish is of beaten, solid silver that is almost pure (ie has a higher silver content than sterling silver). The sides are raised, and the edges are scalloped.
The underside of the rim has been impressed or engraved with two sets of initials: ‘Y.S.G.’ and ‘Y.M.’ These are the initials of past owners, probably 18th century owners. The two sets suggest that the plate passed from one generation to another and both sets had the tray initialled. Silver was considered very valuable and owners often would initial their silver, particularly if they lived in a large house with an extended family, so that the ownership of the silver was clear and thus so too was the line of inheritance.
Similar large serving dishes are illustrated in Davis Boylan (1974, p. 140), de Lavalle & Lang (1974, p. 161), and Luis Ribera & Schenone (1981, p. 229).
Such serving dishes were used across Spanish colonial South America, but the shape and construction of this example suggest an eighteenth century date of manufacture and most probably an Argentinian provenance.
This dish has a wonderful patina – the silver has the ‘rawness’ of early colonial South American silver. It is in excellent condition and is without cracks, splits or holes.
Davis Boylan, L., Spanish Colonial Silver, Museum of New Mexico Press, 1974.
de Lavalle, J.A. & W. Lang, Arte y Tesoros del Peru: Plateria Virreynal, Banco de Credito del Peru en la Cultura, 1974.
Luis Ribera, A., & H.H. Schenone, Plateria Sudamericana de los Siglos XVII-XX, Hirmer Verlag Muchen, 1981.
Taullard, A., Plateria Sudemericana, Ediciones Espeula de Plata, 2004.