If we had a “Carson”, from the television series “Downton Abbey”, he would have this kind of tray. One of sister’s gems, it is an antique hallmarked sterling silver butler’s tray with the most elegant lines. She doesn’t have a butler either, but the tray is stunning anyway. Sister once asked our then 10 or 11 year old daughter to serve some sandwiches during a tea many years ago and when she was handed this or similar tray, she nearly toppled over forwards it was so heavy…hahaha. I kid you not, the kid remembers that moment distinctly. :)
I snapped these shots last Thanksgiving when we were in New York for a visit. The tray was on the coffee table and I marveled the simple yet extremely elegant shape. It comes from a bygone era for the most part, but with butler training schools absolutely filled to the gills with students, and at tuition rates exceeding $40,000+ at that for a short course (I know, I inquired), perhaps such things will see a renaissance of sorts in the years ahead. Apparently all these self-made billionaires from Russia, China and South America are in the market for butlers and the sort these days, with demand well outstripping supply. I wanted to take a butler course a couple of years ago so that I could learn the art/craft, and perhaps train some up back in the Philippines. But at those tuition prices, not sure I could justify it as a whim… A properly trained and top-notch butler or house manager can now command salaries of USD80,000+ with lots of benefits (holidays, private jets, yachts)! That’s nearly twice the average starting salary of a newly minted graduate from most Ivy colleges!
As for the name, I actually am not certain this IS a butler’s tray. Butler’s tray(s) now seem to refer to wooden or even plastic trays set on a stand that you can lift off and bring elsewhere. So perhaps this tray up above is just a fabulous 19th or 18th century sterling silver TRAY, and not necessarily a butler’s tray. But it IS something Carson would be familiar with, AND know how to use properly, trust me. But first we have to work on acquiring a decent castle. :)