The King of Siam's Dinner Service
A superb service of silver plate, of the total value $50,000, and weighing 15,000 ounces, has just been manufactured by the eminent firm of Messrs. Elkington & Co., Birmingham, England, and which exemplifies, in a high degree, the great perfection in taste, design, and workmanship to which the art of the silversmith is carried. It is a state dinner service, made to order for the King of Siam, and is, in every respect, well fitted to grace a royal table. It is, of course. solid silver throughout, and consists of a large number of pieces, being intended to dine about sixty persons in state. Conspicuous among the others is the principal centerpiece, a splendid and massive piece of workmanship. It is nearly four feet high, and the design is that of a threeheaded elephant–a symbol of the Siamese religion–standing upon a plateau, and bearing on its back a castle, above which is a double vase with a tower-shaped stem. The trapping's of the elephant are of delicate gold work, and gold tassels depend from the ears. Though the idea of gracefulness, in conjunction with a three-headed monster, might seem rather difficult to conceive, the heads are so arranged as to detract in no degree from the appearance of the figure. Standing in front, just under the heads, are two keepers in martial attire, each with a long staff, from the top of which projects the national flag of Siam. This piece, which weighs 700 ounces, bears in three places the coat of arms of the King, in high relief and richly molded and chased. There are fourteen other centerpieces of smaller size, but all of the same design as the principal one. Six four-light candelabra, of palm tree design, with a three-headed elephant standing under each, will help to illumine the royal banquet whenever the service is used ; and among the other pieces which compose the set are six wine coolers, six large hot water dishes and covers, six rice dishes, six oval entrie dishes, twelve bread baskets, eight sauce tureens, six cruet frames, four large oval trays 28 Inches long, and four salvers of smaller size, and about 150 dozen of spoons and forks.
The design is Oriental, and an elephant with one head forms the handle of each of the dish, tureen, and other covers. Every piece has also carved upon it the King's coat of arms and his name in a monogram.
Source: Scientific American - 4th July 1874