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Bread Trays

In Victorian England, bread was often delivered to middle class homes by bakers. Large households may have had the means and the servants necessary to bake their own supply. As the standard of living improved in Victorian England, the use of rye, barley, oats, rice and corn for baking bread declined. As Isabella Beeton said in her book of household management, “Everybody knows it is wheat flour that yields the best bread.” Middle and upper class people typically consumed a half pound of bread daily and a laborer’s diet may have included two pounds.

Majolica bread trays were undoubtedly very common Victorian household items. They are typically ovoid in shape with a flat central portion and a raised rim decorated with stalks or sheaves of wheat, corn or other grains. The most common examples are unmarked although finer pieces were produced by Minton, Wedgwood and George Jones. Particularly charming are those where the rim is inscribed with an admonishment such as “Eat Thy Bread With Thankfulness” or “Where Reason Rules The Appetite Obeys.”

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