Tole is from the French term, tole peinte de lac or painted tin. It is a method of decorative painting that is seen on everything from tin antique accessories from household pieces to pieces of furniture. It all began in the late 1600’s when a man in a Welsh town was trying to make metal plating rustproof and decorative at the same time. Later, craftsmen began adding stenciling and gilding to the process which expanded the art into a booming industry. This time in history we’re referring to is more specifically the 1800s, when toleware was at the height of its popularity and even the most humdrum of household items became precious hand-painted masterpieces.
The tray scene here is formed of ‘papier mache’ and has a wonderful shape, with painted black background. There are highly detailed scrolls of gilded flowers and hanging vines around the periphery, and the interior sides, top and base are inset with tiny bits of mother-of-pearl. The center floral composition has a variety of colorful flowers and vines from small to large which have been gilded, painted and displayed with large petals done in mother-of-pearl.
A perfect example of the decorative painting and detailing seen on pieces from the 1800’s, this antique English tray can be mounted to a wall, a stand, or left as is.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with craquelure to paint, some fading, minor nicks. Back of tray has spots where old mounts were.