The strawberries are picked, the Pimm’s is poured and the sun is even (occasionally) out… which can only mean one thing – Wimbledon.
Engravers Guild’s favourite sporting event of the year, the Championships is often a feast of all things personalised and engraved.
Close on the heels of Andy Murray in the stakes to be our favourite tennis player, Roger Federer is a showcase of executing a personalised style, the men’s and women’s trophies are exquisite examples of fine engraving, and the tournament in SW19 epitomises London at its very best.
As such, over the coming week, we’ll be delighting and revelling in all that Wimbledon has to offer, and publishing a series of posts about the home of the Lawn Tennis Association.
And so, to kick us off, we thought we would turn to the most obvious example of engraving excellence – the Ladies’ Trophy.
Called the Venus Rosewater Dish, the plate is a ceremonial platter or basin used after eating to catch rosewater poured from warm or cold ewers over the hands to wash them, which was a daily ceremony in England in the 1600s.
The origins of this particular piece are to be found in France where, around 1585, the French engraver François Briot designed a rosewater dish that has since become known as the Temperantia dish or basin.
These became the most fashionable items for wealthy households to display at the time, and a number of studios across Europe specialised in replicating similar items.
Among the most accomplished of those developing their own versions was the German, Caspar Enderlein, and his work was exhibited at the Louvre.
From this, a copy was made in 1849 by Emil Braun, a German archaeologist, and he sold this plaster model to Elkington and Company in Birmingham.
Twelve years later, in 1864, another electrotype copy was manufactured, which went on to become the famous Venus Rosewater Dish.
The history shows that it is not necessarily the uniqueness of the item that always holds the value. Just as the Wimbledon trophy is heavily based – or even copied – from other designs, it is the history and the engraving which makes all the difference.
At Engravers Guild, we follow the same sentiment. Many of our personalised gifts – whether they are engraved cufflinks or personalised hip flasks, custom necklaces or bespoke Christening gifts – are inspired by favourite designs, which leave the engraving to be the real hero.