Exhibition Silverplate Shields by Elkington & Co.

  • These Milton and Bunyan silverplate shields are incredible masterpieces by Elkington & Co.
  • The designs were originally created by Léonard Morel-Ladeuil for Paris Exhibitions of 1867 and 1878
  • Each depicts scenes from Milton's Paradise Lost and Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress
  • Other examples of these works can be found in numerous museum collections
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-3043

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This pair of silverplate shields, impressive in both size and artistry, represent some of the most important silver creations ever produced by Elkington & Co. Depicting scenes from John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost and John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, they are official replicas of French artist Léonard Morel-Ladeuil's original shield designs for the great Universal Exhibitions of the late 19th century.

The Milton Shield displays on its central panel the dramatic moment that Adam and Eve are cast out of Paradise by the Archangel Raphael, while other panels depict the conflict between the hosts heaven and hell. The original Milton Shield was made specifically for the Paris Exhibition of 1867 where it received a gold medal. The other, known as the Bunyan Shield, made its debut at the Paris Exhibition of 1878 and depicts various scenes from The Pilgrim's Progress in incredible detail. Together, they are a celebration of two of the greatest literary works of the 17th century, and a show of incredible skill from one of the most important silver manufacturers of the 19th century.

Elkington & Co. patented the first commercial electroplating process and held Royal Warrants for Queen Victoria, King Edward VI, King George V, King Edward VIII and King George VI. French-born sculptor Morel-Ladeuil joined Elkington in 1859, producing designs for the firm for a total of 23 years. These monumental shields are arguably the finest result of this highly successful collaboration. The original Milton Shield now resides in the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), while other electrotypes by Elkington & Co. belong to the Musée d'Orsay (Paris) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York). Additionally, another electrotype of the Bunyan Shield is on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

Milton Shield: marked "Department of Science & Art, Elkington" and "VR"
Bunyan Shield: marked “Elkington”

Late 19th century

26” wide x 35" high
Exhibition Silverplate Shields by Elkington & Co.
Maker: Elkington & Co.
Period: 19th Century
Origin: England
Type: Other
Depth: 0.75 Inches
Width: 26.0 Inches
Height: 35.0 Inches
Style: Victorian

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