A wonderful silver bread plate by the famed New England silversmithing firm of Reed & Barton. Introduced by the company in 1906, Francis I has become one of the most highly collectible sterling patterns ever created and is held in high esteem by connoisseurs.
Marked “REED & BARTON / STERLING”
11 3/4" wide
Reed & Barton, established in 1824, is one of the oldest silver manufacturing firms in the United States. They have long been an industry leader and pioneer in the art of silversmithing, which has been referred to as "the last great craft." The Francis I pattern is their most recognized achievement, featuring 15 different fruit clusters detailed in a complete set.
Around 1904-1906, Reed and Barton sought to develop a sterling flatware pattern that would be a marvel of design and craftsmanship representing magnificence in detail and boldness of ornamental relief. Years of careful planning and accurate craftsmanship were responsible for this design masterpiece. The designer was Ernest Mayer, who brought with him to the company years of experience and a thorough knowledge of the perfection of his art.
The pattern is named for Francis of Angouleme, a handsome, talented and debonair patron of the arts and literature. He was born in 1494 and died in 1547. Francis became the King of France in 1515 upon the death of his uncle Louis XII. His reign was one of splendor. He combined all his talent and that of France developing all to a dazzling height of glory in art and architecture known today as the French Renaissance.