RARE PRESENTATION PLATE

The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths have in their Hall a vast store of plate, and many of the older Companies still have their great centrepieces, their large rose-bowls, and specimens of the great standing salts which once served a useful purpose in their Halls ; and most of the Companies still own silver loving cups, flagons, plates and dishes of quaint manufacture. Incidentally it may be mentioned that many of the pieces of plate owned by the trade guilds are by noted artists of olden time, and were specially made for their donors and ornamented with the particular purpose in view. They often bear rare hall-marks, and the initials of celebrated makers, the date letters telling of their great antiquity. These curious larger works of the silversmith's art are not altogether confined to the wealthier guilds or to those which still possess Halls of their own, for some of the lesser companies own at least one or two pieces of plate carefully stowed away among the archives of the Company. It is a pity that these rare old pieces, so seldom used, should not be on view in one of the City Museums ; then they could be made to serve a useful purpose, and, perhaps, to fulfil to a greater extent the objects of their donors. As these City Companies have to such a large extent lost touch with the trades they once represented, it seems only fair that these rich gifts of old plate and other relics should be exhibited where they can be seen and admired by the traders and craftsmen following the same pursuits as their first owners.