Wednesday 9th October 2019
The Museum of London recently acquired a very rare silver plate that once belonged to Samuel Pepys. From their website:
This silver plate, with knife and fork scratch marks, belonged to Samuel Pepys: Londoner, naval administrator and famous diarist.
The rim is engraved with the coat of arms of the Pepys family, and the underside has London hallmarks (symbols stamped into the silver, testifying to its purity). Also on the plate’s underside are the date letter for 1681/2 and the maker’s mark ‘MK in a lozenge’ indicating that it was made in the workshop of Mary King in Foster Lane: just five minutes’ walk from the Museum of London. There’s a much later scratched inscription, reading: ‘date 1681’. It is possible that the plate was acquired from the goldsmith Richard Hoare, and the engraving executed by Benjamin Rhodes who was one of his sub-contractors.
Very little 17th century silver has survived, because it was regarded as an investment and was constantly refashioned or melted down. This plate is one of just three surviving items of silver known to have belonged to Pepys. The other two are now in the United States of America. It’s very exciting for the museum to put Samuel’s silverware on public display in the heart of London, so close to where it was made.
Visit the website for pictures, or the museum’s War, Plague and Fire gallery to see the plate in person.