Maker’s mark of William Pitts
Diameter: 56.2 cm
Weight: 195.5 oz
From the collection of Audrey Love Al-Tajir CollectionLiterature
The present lot is illustrated as plate 1176 in V. Brett, The Sotheby's Directory of Silver (London, 1976) page 259. For similar example of this style dish by the same maker see J.B. Hawkins, Masterpieces of English and European Silver & Gold (Sydney, 2000) cat 35, pp 90 - 91, the style and quality of the relief decoration work bear strong resemblances. A. Phillips and J Sloane, Exhibition catalogue, Antiquity Revisited: English and French silver-gilt (London 1997) p.50, no 8.Silversmith Biography
Son of Thomas Pitts I, apprenticed to his father of Air Street Piccadilly goldsmith, Citizen and Goldsmith 1 March 1769. Free, 3 November 1784. First mark entered as plateworker, 18 December 1781. Address: 17 St. Martin's Street, Leicester Fields. Second mark, 4 May 1786. Address: 26 Litchfield Street, Soho. Third mark, in partnership with Joseph Preedy, 11 January 1791, same address. Moved to 8 Newport Street, St. Ann's, 3 August 1795. Fourth mark, alone, 21 December 1799. Address: 15 Little Wild Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields. Fifth mark, 5 March 1806. Address: 14 James Street, Lambeth Marsh. His son, William, was apprenticed to his father 5 February 1806; the latter was then already at James Street, where he or William II was still in 1818 on the apprenticeship to him of John Childers, when Pitts was described as silversmith and chaser. Heal records all of the above addresses and dates up to 1800. In his production of epergnes and dessert baskets and stands, both alone and with Preedy, William Pitts shows himself specialising in exactly the same work as his father. In the Regency period he turned to the production of ornate cast candelabra in the neo-rococo style.Description
This magnificent dish typifies Pitts interest in combining design elements from various antique sources. The plaque in the centre of dish appears to be a casting from a late 17th century relief of the Rape of Sabines, based on an antique model. There are two similar dishes in the royal collection also by Pitts. Pitts seems to have been of the first 19th century to incorporate antique plaques or castings of them in his work.
The border of the dish comprises of cast classical scenes: the Banquet of the Gods with Ganymede presenting Jupiter with a cup, Hercules embracing Omphale, and the Gods on Mount Olympus with Apollo playing the lyre.