Fine Arts: Plenty of quality silver service from Bonhams

Vintage table silver artefacts are the order of the day at the auction house’s upcoming sale on October 19 in London

Picture: Melike Cinoplat

In 18th-century Ireland, silver tableware was very much seen as a status symbol, and the dramatic rise of tea imports opened up endless possibilities. We are hardwired to crave novelty, so imagine the delight when sugar cubes first appeared on upper-class tea tables – much more stylish than loose sugar.

Naturally, some sort of implement was needed to get cube to cup, and silversmiths obliged with sugar tongs and nips. A most unusual pair will ...