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A small example of this most English of drawing room utensils, essential for winter entertaining and the serving of hot toddy. Toddy was a changeable blend of alcohol, spices, honey etc served hot as an aperitif. The baleen handle insulated the person dispensing the toddy from being burnt from the brew, typically the host.

Baleen is the straining plate from the types of whale that feed on small fish such as krill. It was ideal because of its combination of properties. It was easy to cut, strong, a poor conductor of heat and it could be manipulated into shapes when it was heated. A natural plastic. Traditionally for the handles of toddy ladles, the baleen was twisted (writhen), to provide grip and decoration.

The bowl and the tip of the handle are of stirling silver, bearing the London hall mark of 1790. Possible silversmith, Elizabeth Jones.

Good condition.


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