Swords of State are not uncommon, a well known example being the rare pearl sword, carried before the Lord Mayor of London on special occasions, and tendered as an act of fealty to the sovereign when he pays a state visit to the City of London ; the presentation is always made at the spot where there was one of the principal gates or bars of the City. The great silver keys of the City of London are emblematic of the gates and bars by which London town was once protected. They are comparatively modern keys, having been made for presentation to Queen Victoria on one of the rare occasions when she visited the City, and they are now on view as curiosities in the Guildhall Museum. As already suggested in many places the silver plate of municipal authorities is of a two-fold nature, emblematic of authority and conviviality. All through the ages feasting on great occasions has been part of the ceremonial of civic functions. To commemorate his year of office the retiring Lord Mayor usually adds to the Mansion House store some beautiful and decorative object, generally something which can be used in civic banquets. In the same way the Mayors of provincial boroughs, in a practical way, increase the store of municipal plate. When Sir James Ritchie was Lord Mayor of London, he hit upon a novel way of combining a memorial of his year of office and of the Ward he represented. His gift was a
FIG.41FIG.41.-SILVER-GILT CENTREPIECE. (The properly of the Corporation of Cardiff.)
replica of the Mace of the Tower Ward already referred to. This beautiful modern triumph of the silversmith's art was so fashioned that the head could be detached and used as a centrepiece on the table. It was richly engraved and silver-gilt by the old fire gilding process.