The Museum of London has acquired a silver trencher plate that only recently was recognised as having belonged to Samuel Pepys.
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Until recently it was unrecognised as relating to and bearing the coat of arms of famous naval administrator, member of parliament and 17th Century diarist, Samuel Pepys. It is one of only three items of silver plate known to have belonged to Pepys as part of his personal collection and is now the only one on display in the UK.
Samuel Pepys began his diary in 1660 and it provides unmatched detail of 17th Century life ranging from everyday observations, interactions and customs to detailed accounts of some of the most significant events and people of the time including the Great Plague of 1665, the Great Fire of London, Charles II's coronation and mentions of Sir Christopher Wren and Sir Isaac Newton among others.
In his diary, Pepys often expressed his passion for acquiring silver and boasted that he served his guests on silver plates rather than pewter. He also noted, rather smugly, how impressed and in awe of his collection of tableware his guests were while they dined at his home. The plate, made in the workshop of Mary King in Foster Lane in 1681/2, displays visible knife and fork scratch marks, so might have been an object of such admiration.
Hazel Forsyth, Senior Curator, Medieval and Post–Medieval at the Museum of London, said: "This is a very important object as it is exceptionally rare to be able to identify the maker and the owner of a plate from this period. The fact that it belonged to Samuel Pepys, one of the most celebrated figures in literary and English history, makes it even more special."
The silver plate is now on display in the War, Plague and Fire gallery at the Museum of London.