Victorian Antique Silver Asparagus Serving Tongs
Victorian Antique Silver Asparagus Serving Tongs

Item Sold

Pair of Victorian Antique Silver Asparagus Serving Tongs made in 1854


A delightful pair of Victorian sterling silver Old English pattern asparagus serving tongs. They have oval shaped hand-pierced blades with a hand-chased threaded border.

Date 1854
Made By Henry Wilkinson & Co
Location Sheffield
Stock Number FA223x19

Out of stock

Maker: Henry Wilkinson & Co

A delightful pair of Victorian sterling silver Old English pattern asparagus serving tongs. They have oval shaped hand-pierced blades with a hand-chased threaded border. The tongs have the original retaining guard with screws.

Dimensions: length 22.8 cm

Asparagus, in earlier centuries going by such names as sparrow grass and sparagrass, was cultivated by the Romans as early as 200 BCE. Though consumption waned during the Middle Ages, it was revived during the reign of Louis XIV. Thomas Jefferson sowed asparagus seeds at Monticello, and noted in his writings the vegetables first appearance each spring. Mary Jefferson Randolph’s directions for cooking the dish were quite detailed, from scraping the stalks and correctly tying the bundles, to timing the cooking so as to bring out their true flavour and colour, noting that a minute or two more boiling destroys both. The appearance of this harbinger of spring was cause for much celebration, and specialised servers were designed to enhance the experience.

The earliest asparagus servers date from the mid-18th century, and were scissor-like tongs with narrow corrugated arms. As the 18th century gave way to the 19th, asparagus servers widened, taking the form of bow-back tongs with a collar or yoke (a form more commonly seen on the market today). Hinged asparagus tongs, fitted with a spring, appeared in England by the mid-19th century.

Henry Wilkinson & Co

It is difficult to trace the origin of the firm in the 18th and the first part of the 19th century, owing to the complexity of intertwined partnerships involving the numerous firms active in Sheffield in the silver business. The Chronology until 1829 is only a hypothesis, largely based on Frederick Bradbury’s book on Old Sheffield Plate (first published in 1912).

Henry Wilkinson & Co, Plate Worker, Norfolk Street, Sheffield entered its first mark in the Sheffield Assay Office on September 24, 1831. Henry Wilkinson & Co was involved in the manufacture of Old Sheffield Plate and was the second firm in Sheffield to receive a licence for the use of the electroplating system (1843). Various pieces of its production were successfully exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Since the 1850s, Henry Wilkinson & Co was active in London with James Price as agent and from 1857 with a Showroom at 4 Bolt Court, Fleet Street (later, Ely House, 13 Charterhouse Street, Holborn Circus). Hallmarks were entered in London Assay Office in 1857 (by Henry Wilkinson) and 1879 (by John Brashier).

In 1872, the firm was converted into a Limited Liability Company under the style Henry Wilkinson & Co Ltd. In 1892, the business went into liquidation and was bought by Walker & Hall.

Delivery Details

We provide worldwide postage/shipping and everything is fully tracked and insured. Purchases will be sent via Royal Mail Special Delivery, FedEx, Parcel Force, A-Z couriers; other delivery providers may be used in extenuating circumstances. We deliver to the address provided at the time of purchase but not to PO addresses, as a signature is required upon delivery.

Some countries levy import duties and local taxes. Payment of these is the purchaser’s responsibility and beyond the control of William Walter Antiques Ltd. When the container has reached the destination country, a customs representative will contact you for payment prior to delivery.

Import restrictions are applicable to some destinations, especially the import of products containing materials such as ivory and tortoiseshell. We cannot accept orders requiring shipment to any countries which implement such controls.

All items are checked and photographed prior to packaging, and we aim to dispatch 1-3 days after receiving cleared payment.

Delivery Charges:
For the UK £15.00
For Europe £30.00
For the rest of World £50.00
The charges are subject to change

About William Walter Antiques

At the heart of William Walter Antiques is our dedication to providing our customers with beautiful silver of supreme quality, which celebrates all that is precious about sterling silver. Customer service also being paramount, our long-standing, devoted staff team go above and beyond the call of duty for all our clients. We believe it is this combination of passion and commitment that has kept our customers with us for many years.

How to buy

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Phone Number
+44 (0) 207 242 3248

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William Walter Antiques,
London Silver Vaults,
53-64 Chancery Lane,
London, WC2A 1QS

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Sat: 09:00 – 12.30

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