Made in London by Edward Wakelin (active from 1730, died 1784)
When the Swedish botanist Per Kalm visited England in 1748 he noted: 'cheese nearly always concludes the meal. Commonly, there is set on the table, whole, a large and strong cheese'. Cheese stands in wood were the most common and examples in ceramic or silver are very rare. Only four similar silver cheese stands are known. [27/03/2003]
This silver cheese stand or plate would have been used to serve a large, whole cheese on the dining table towards the end of the meal, before or in place of the dessert. The cradle shape held the circular cheese upright as it rested on its side. Commonly made in wood, cheese plates in silver are very rare. Only four similar plates are known.
This cheese plate was ordered by Brownlow Cecil, 9th Earl of Exeter (1725-1793), from the London goldsmiths Parker and Wakelin. Edward Wakelin (active from 1730, died 1784), who supplied the cheese plate, had supervised the workshop of the goldsmith George Wickes in Panton Street, London, since the 1740s. When Wickes and his partner retired, he continued the business in partnership with John Parker (active about 1730-1765). The plate may have been made in the firm's own workshop or by an outworker under Wakelin's direction. The cheese plate cost the Earl £37 7s 6d; the engraving of his coat of arms, crests and coronets was an extra 15 shillings.