The birth on May 6 of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s first child, Archie, is a timely occasion to mention antique christening gifts.
Handily, this month Matthew Adams also celebrates 30 years of organising antiques fairs in Lindley Hall, part of the Royal Horticultural Halls in Victoria, London.
London silver dealer Robert Nevin will be bringing a Victorian christening bowl to Adams Antiques Fairs on Sunday, May 26.
The Victorians changed the emphasis on christening presents from a silver coin that might bring good luck to small, often personalised gifts given by the parents and godparents on the day of the child’s baptism – a strong tradition which continues to this day.
These included elaborately decorated silver mugs, bowls, spoons, napkin rings, cups, eggcups, rattles, coral tooth-cutters and picture frames. (Plenty of choice for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who had a hefty gift-load with nine children, 42 grandchildren and 87 great-grandchildren.)
Adams said: “Every single fair is always fully booked with a queue to get in right round the block.
“The hall’s cathedral-like dimensions and its 40ft glass, barrel-vaulted roof offers an ideal environment for a monthly fair that brings together 144-plus dealers and thousands of visitors who can all get and out with ease, with zero Sunday parking costs and wheel and deal all day long.”