These three sisters belong together.
|Type||Three tin-lined roasting pans with brass handles|
attached with three copper rivets
|French description||Trois plaques à rôtir étamées avec poignées en laiton|
munies de trois rivets en cuivre
|Dimensions||30cm long by 20cm wide by 5.5cm high|
(11.8 by 7.9 by 2.2 inches)
|35cm long by 25cm wide by 6cm high|
(13.8 by 9.8 by 2.4 inches)
|40cm long by 30cm wide by 6.5cm high|
(15.7 by 11.8 by 2.6 inches)
|Maker and age estimate||Unknown;|
It was the handles that drew my eye. The Etsy seller posted a roasting pan whose baseplates had a scroll-like flourish that I know well. I have a couple of pieces with handles like this, and they show skilled 19th century hand-work including dovetails and the dot.
I purchased the pan and the seller remarked that he had two others just like it and asked if I was interested in them as well. Of course I said yes.
They are truly a matched set, measuring 30cm, 35cm, and 40cm in length. I have nicknamed them les trois sœurs, the three sisters.
Nested within each other, the tops of the handles step down slightly from largest to smallest.
All four corners of each pan are neatly dovetailed.
The interior rivets are flat and set nearly flush to the surface. It’s possible some of them have been replaced over the lifetime of the pans; some of the rivets are fully flat, while others have a flattened dome shape. They all are of a uniform small size, however, so if replacements or repairs have been done, they have been done well.
Someone has cared for these pans: they are not dented, stoved in, nor crushed, which I consider to be excellent physical condition for antique pans less than 2mm thick. The most serious thing I saw in the listing photos below was accumulation of verdigris around the handles — this certainly needs to be cleaned away before the pans are used for cooking. The other issues were cosmetic — they needed a good polishing and a new tin lining.
I sent all three to Erik Undiks at Rocky Mountain Retinning for restoration and he did a magnificent job, as you can see in the photo below and throughout this post.
I wish I knew who made these pans. The information wouldn’t alter my appreciation of them, but I am curious who was making pieces with these beautiful and distinctive handles. I had never seen an example with a maker’s stamp until reader Stephen Whalen provided photos of a stockpot with a Gaillard stamp; this information only deepens the mystery, however, as I suspect that stockpot — like these pans — was made in the late 19th century while that particular stamp did not come into use until the 20th. I’m looking into that stamp but it’s slow going given the paucity of information I can find online.
But. This site is about my curiosity about antique and vintage copper, but my findings don’t change what these lovely things are. These three sisters have stayed together for a century at least and are just as beautiful and useful today as the day they were made. Whoever made them should be proud; whoever owned them along the way should be praised for keeping them so well. It’s my turn now, and I’m glad to welcome them.