08 Jan2013

A Butler’s Tray…

by Marketman


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. :)



  1. PITS, MANILA says:

    remembering ‘rogers 1847’ and how it took a long time to polish silver …

    Jan 8, 2013 | 2:28 pm


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  3. Dragon says:

    Watching a bit of Antiques Roadshow with my FIL here in Scotland, there were a lot of segments touching on silverware markings.


    Jan 8, 2013 | 5:05 pm

  4. Connie C says:

    That tray certainly assures a butler keeping his arms’ muscle mass and well toned as he ages in his butlerhood. No need to worry about lifting weights for exercise!

    And for those charmed by Downton Abbey , here’s one writer’s thoughts:


    Jan 8, 2013 | 10:32 pm

  5. Maki says:

    wow.. nice tray. excellent for a fancy merienda at home

    Jan 8, 2013 | 11:40 pm

  6. Footloose says:

    I can probably rely on the services of a personal valet but not a full-time butler and I would not want to be served anything from this type of tray specially when carrying domed plate covers, reminds me too much of Blanche’s lunch in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.

    @ConnieC…Great spectacular productions is something we can always depend on the British to provide. Even plain radio programs available in the BBC archives are hugely entertaining and informative. I’m particularly fond of the Thursday morning discussions moderated by Melvyn Bragg and splendid dramatizations of classic novels such as the recent four-part series of The Count of Monte Cristo which sent me scurrying back to my Pléiade edition. It scares the hell out of me that BBC’s towering achievement could be laid low by a recently uncovered sex scandal whereas Ratzinger’s career is not even threatened by the court-documented systematic cover-up of even more pervasive abuses of pedophile priests.

    And btw, Kudos to Kurtzaar for the BBC link re lard in the Anniversary post.

    Jan 8, 2013 | 11:56 pm

  7. bakerwannabe says:

    Downton Abbey Season 3 started last Sunday. I was enthralled for 2 hours. Can’t wait for the next episodes.

    Jan 9, 2013 | 2:17 am

  8. kurzhaar says:

    Forgive me but I had to chuckle at this post–we are rather too democratic in our household and value our privacy too much to envision ever having live-in household staff (though gardening service and such is fine). It is a handsome tray, though, and we have a similar weighty tray that we use for drink service (minus a butler).
    @Footloose–we have a mixed US/European home and so listen largely to European broadcasts (BBC, Radio France, OE1, etc.). Totally agree re: Melvyn Bragg’s Radio 4 series…great stuff! There are also some entertaining if not always substantive food-related programmes on Radio 4. One of us gets a kick out of the farming reports. :)

    Jan 11, 2013 | 4:34 am

  9. kurzhaar says:

    @footloose–I think the Beeb will survive the scandal…and probably thrive under Tony Hall. As for Ratzinger, neither of us are Catholics, though we are friends with many (mainly ex- or non-practising) Catholics who have left the mainstream Catholic church for reasons such as the paedophile scandal and the church’s stance against non-heterosexuals. It is my impression albeit as an outsider that Ratzinger has few fans.

    Jan 11, 2013 | 10:15 am

  10. rody says:

    forget butlers. more interesting are groundskeepers or game wardens like the character clifford mellors in “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”, by D.H. Lawrence. it’s worth a re-read for all who are into classic literature. interestingly, the unexpurgated version was released in the U.K. only in 1960, around the time of my first pubescent stirrings. connie reid chatterley was portrayed by a popular french actress whose name i cannot now recall.
    about the tray, i can imagine it with a decanter of makers mark bourbon and some cashew nuts, served to me by lady chatterley in the gameskeeper’s hut, on a foggy english evening….”with no human sob or sigh or dreaming cry to disturb the insect voices of the night, joined in a chorus more soothing than silence…..”

    Jan 12, 2013 | 5:52 pm

  11. Shalimar says:

    afternoon tea ;-)… some red pigs were flying all over the Walk at IT Park!

    Jan 13, 2013 | 2:51 am


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