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A set of silver-gilt plates; the reeded rim cast with fruiting vines and scallop shells. The plate is engraved with the Royal coat of arms, with supporters, mantling and coronet.

George IV's spectacular silver-gilt dining service and buffet

Attributed to Leopold William Cleave (1866-1943)

Gold Plate Buffets circa 1902

Gelatin silver print | 15 x 30 cm (image) | RCIN 2936793

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This photograph shows a tiered display table and a wall of gold and silver-gilt plate, candelabra, vessels and wall lights prepared for a State Banquet at Windsor Castle in around 1902. Pieces from the Grand Service were displayed on this occasion alongside ornaments from Tipu Sultan's throne, including a gold tiger's head (RCIN 67212) and a Bird of Paradise (RCIN 48482).

Some seventy years later, Sir Roy Strong attended a banquet at Buckingham Palace and described the effect created by displays like this: 'Vast chandeliers lit the room but what was quite extraordinary were the three great buffets with displays of plate done in a manner Louis XIV would have recognised. Behind each ascended boards upholstered in deep crimson velvet which were studded with huge pieces of gold plate and baroque wall sconces… The impact on entering can only be described as dazzling.'