Cream jug

Cream jug

Cream jug
Silver
Probably by Paul de Lamerie (1688-1751)
London, England, about 1735
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.733-2008
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This cream jug has no marks, but bears similarities to other cream jugs attributed to Paul de Lamerie, a Huguenot silversmith who worked in the rococo style. The sculptural quality and overlapping scales or leaves are typical of his work of the 1730s.

The jug was cast in several pieces and soldered together. Casting is an ancient process and there are many casting techniques available, depending on what qualities the craftsman wants to achieve. A plaster mould was probably used for this jug as it is particularly good for casting objects with intricate detail and decoration. First a pattern in the shape of the finished item was made from clay, wood, wax, polished metal or soap. This could be kept and reused. The pattern was then pressed into soft plaster to create a mould. This could be in two parts if the pattern was symmetrical or more if it was a complicated shape. The mould was then fitted together and filled with molten metal.