Spoon warmers could be found on Victorian upper-class tables as one of the many now-obscure table accoutrements of the period. In an effort to preserve food’s temperature in stately, and often draughty, dining rooms, the warmer was filled with boiling water in the kitchen, then brought to the dining room with the serving spoons placed inside.
Pottery spoon warmers such as this one are extremely rare: most contemporary examples were made of silver in order to better retain heat as well as function as a display of wealth through a luxurious material. Spoon warmers, both silver and ceramic, were typically modeled as shells, drawing upon the nineteenth-century interest in conchology. This Staffordshire pottery spoon warmer takes the form of a bivalve, with details outlined exquisitely in gilding and beautifully enameled sea life decoration.