Historical influences-Changes in style-Household plate.
IT is convenient to divide the chapters on domestic plate, following those of the Middle Ages and late Mediaeval or Tudor, into the several centuries during which the old silver which comes under the ken of the twentieth century collector was being used and stored. It is obvious that the periods cannot be strictly divided by any sharp line, or such arbitrary dates as the beginning and end of a century, nor can these periods of time be given as the correct dates at which any new style was first introduced. Actual changes in craftsmanship are for the most part found in unison with the social, political and domestic changes which were made, sometimes slowly, at others abruptly. These divisions, marked by the centuries, however, happen to fall very near the times indicated by political changes, so that the student of history, looking back over the centuries, noting the numerous changes in social life since medioevalism was at its height, recognises in the historical happenings great changes which can very well be placed for easy division at the beginnings and ends of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.