A 300mm (12") Chippendale style salver in sterling silver on three legs.
The term Chippendale style generally refers to pieces made in a modified rococo style featuring an abundance of scrolling curves and counter-curves.
The style is named after the world-renowned 18th century cabinet maker and interior designer, Thomas Chippendale, whose furnishings reflected popular English tastes of the period incorporating mid-Georgian, English Rococo, and neoclassical styles. His was the first English furniture style to be named after an artisan rather than a monarch and was recognised for its revolutionary designs and quality.
The serving tray as we know it today is an evolution of the salver, which was a term used in England from the mid-seventeenth century to denote a flat tray without handles, usually made of silver. Some salver designs feature supporting feet - usually three or four.
The word derives from the Latin salvare meaning to save. Originally, food or drink intended for royalty would be initially tasted by a servant for signs of poison before it reached the royal top table. Being served on the salver indicated that this process had taken place and the food and drink was now fit for a king.
Salvers later became commonplace in aristocratic and wealthy homes and Samuel Pepys is recorded as an owner of a salver, signifying his high social standing.