A very rare George III Toasting Cheese Dish made in London in 1798 by John Schofield.

A very rare George III Toasting Cheese Dish made in London in 1798 by John Schofield.



The Dish is rectangular in form with an everted gadrooned rim.  The domed cover rises to an oval platform and terminates in a cast ball finial.  The front of the cover is engraved with a contemporary Armorial with Motto below and Crest above, all surrounded by a cartouche of drapery mantling.  This example has a fruitwood side handle and is in quite excellent condition.  The bottom of the dish has a hot water jacket which can be filled by unscrewing the handle.  The chain on the handle can them be attached to the finial so that the cover remains upright.  The dish is in quite excellent condition and is fully marked on the base and the underside of the cover.  The quality of design and production is outstanding, but not surprising, as John Schofield was patronised by George III and the Prince of Wales, later George IV.

The Arms, Crest and Motto are those of Sir Charles Warre Malet, 1st Bt of Wilbury, created 1791.  He was born in 1752 and in 1799 married Suzannah, daughter and co-heir of James Wales of Bombay.  Charles died in 1815 and his wife lived until 1868.  He was an Indian administrator and diplomat.  He served as Minister at Poonah 1785-91 and then became acting Governor of Bombay until 1798 when he retired, returning to England and ordered his Toasting Cheese Dish.  He was a direct descendant of William Malet, who died 1071, of Granville, Normandy.  He was a companion of the Conqueror at Hastings.

Among the innovations of the last quarter of the Eighteenth Century were specialised dishes for melting cheese on toast.  The cheese toaster is equipped with a hot water jacket, which is filled through a conical socket with removable wooden handle.  Squares of toasted bread were thereby kept warm while the cheese layered on top melted and bubbled by the heat of an open fire.  The cover was raised to an angle and secured with a silver chain affixed to a ring on the finial and hooked to another ring on the handle.  The reflective interior of the cover aided the process of melting and toasting the cheese.

Length: 9.5 inches, 23.75 cm.

Width: 6 inches, 15 cm.

Height, to the top of the finial: 4 inches, 10cm.

Weight: 44oz.