Plates mentioned in the Ximenez inventory form a category of special interest. The most important items were the "taillooren," of which the inventory lists some sixty examples, each weighing approximately 300 grams; this was a huge stock quite unlike those indicated in most extant Antwerp inventories. The word "tailloor" derives from the French word for a cutting board, tailloir, as such pieces originally took the form of small round or rectangular boards on which diners could cut their own bread and meat. Several Antwerp inventories feature wooden "taillooren" of this kind, some of which are listed as painted. In Italy flat boards had given rise to silver plates for the wealthy by the sixteenth century, but the earliest surviving examples of such plates made north of the Alps date from 1560-70 and bear the coat of arms of King Eric XIV of Sweden. Although essentially flat, the latter have a slightly raised, very broad rim. Emmanuel Ximenez's "taillooren" must have looked similar, albeit with a narrower rim. What is unusual about the Ximenez inventory is the vast number of "taillooren" itemized there, a holding of almost princely dimensions. Another, less important category of plate was constituted by the fifty "schotels" mentioned in the inventory, which lists sets of small and medium-sized "schotels" and one pair of very large "schotels." "Schotels" tended to be larger and often deeper than "taillooren." Those in the Ximenez household may well have been shaped like a typical "puntschotel," with a pointed rim. Such "schotels" would have been used not as dinner plates but to serve food or as display items on a buffet.

Lorenz Seelig, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (retired), Munich


Hernmarck, Carl. Die Kunst der europäischen Gold- und Silberschmiede von 1450 bis 1830. Munich: C. H. Beck, 1978. 194-195.

Claessens-Peré, Anne-Marie, ed. Zilver voor Sir Anthony. Exh. cat., Provinciaal Museum Sterckshof/Zilvercentrum, Antwerp. Gent: Snoeck, Ducaju & Zoon, 1999. 142-143, 31.

Silver plate, 1560-70, with the coat of arms of Eric XIV of Sweden, Nordiska Museet, Stockholm. Image: © Nordiska Museet.