VERY RARE set spoon & fork made for Shah of Persia 1889 Sheffield
At first they may not look like anything special but these pieces are far from ordinary.
These were manufactured by the world famous James Dixon and Sons (later known as Dixon & Sons), the pioneers of the production of silver plated ware.
The Shah of Persia visited Sheffield in 1889 as part of several visits to European countries and he also visited London, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Bradford.
He was the first Shah (Emperor) to come to Europe and his plan was to open trade routes between Europe and his Empire.
You can see a photograph of Shah Nasr ud Deen with Edward Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VII- the son of Queen Victoria) together in a carriage above during his visit to London.
You can also read some very interesting information about the visit to Sheffield above (you can copy the link shown in the image to read the full article). As stated, the Persian Emperor visited the factory of James Dixon & Sons in Sheffield in 1889.
The pieces shown here have the maker’s marks for Dixon & Sons for the period.
What makes the pieces remarkable is the pseudo-Persian inscription at the top of each piece. Although the letters are correct for God’s personal name ‘Allah’, the rest of the script is pseudo / made up as it was copied from a book for an artist working at the Dixon & Sons factory (this type of copying from Arabic books in the late 19th century is widely documented and can be seen in works by Liberty & Company, William de Morgan and Christopher Dresser).
We were fortunate to come into contact with a family whose parents had a small museum on the South Coast of England in the1960’s/1970’s before it closed. They explained that these were part of an exhibition/display but the museum closed a long time ago and these were carefully stored away (which explains their excellent condition!).
At first glance these wonderful pieces of history look brand new but they could do with a careful and gentle clean as there are some minor marks and blemishes.
The fork is around 7.5 inches in length and the spoon is around 7 inches long.
Fork weighs approximately 50g
Spoon weighs approximately 50g
The hallmarks are correct for the period and there is also a mark that reads “GUARANTEED” to confirm that each one is of the highest quality.
These are very good quality silver plated spoons and were designed to impress the Shah.
The Shah had visited the factory with his trade ministers and they would have taken some back to Persia so that the Persian cutlery manufactures could try and replicate the technology.
Some people believe that silver plate was used by the poorer in society but if you care to research you will find some amazing pieces of 19th century silver plate that have etched coats of arms / heraldic crests on them as they were owned by some very rich families.
This is a rare opportunity to acquire a set of amazing pieces of history with a direct link to the Shah of Persia in 1889.
Please note that the box may vary from the one shown.
The following extract is courtesy of “Sheffielder.net” 28/07/2020:
“The Shah arrived at the Midland Station on Friday 12th July. He had been fatigued in Birmingham and his journey to Sheffield was delayed, causing unnecessary anxiety to those who had organised the schedule. Nevertheless, the people of Sheffield waited patiently, and gave him a rapturous welcome.
From Midland Station, a huge procession, escorted by a squadron of the Yorkshire Dragoons, made its way to the Corn Exchange where a reception was held. Afterwards he visited the Atlas Works of John Brown and Company before heading to The Farm, the Duke of Norfolk’s residence (now the site of Sheffield College), where he stayed overnight.
Despite the long delay, thousands lined the streets as the Royal procession travelled along St Mary’s Road, The Moor and to Norfolk Street where the Shah visited the works of Joseph Rodgers and Sons, including a tour of the vast ivory cellar, before being presented with a handsome sporting knife.
From here, the Shah was transported to the silver plating company, James Dixon and Sons, at Cornish Works, where a whistle-stop tour ended with the presentation of a silver drinking flask”.
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