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Benares House Gallery
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Butter Pat
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Title: Butter Pat
Identifier: 2007.2.39
Donor: Barbara Sayers Larson
Item Date: 2012
Creation Date: 1850-1880
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A round porcelain butter pat dish with hand-painted decoration. The background is gold with a scrollwork design. In the centre is a portrait of a gentleman with long curly hair, wearing a brown hat, white shirt, and blue jacket. The back of the dish is plain white with raised ridges.

Decorative butter pats and particularly portrait pats such as these were highly collectable. They were first produced in the mid-1800s and reached the height of fashion during the late 19th century."In the Victorian era, from about 1880-1910, a table was not complete without individual butter pats. One of the reasons that the Arts and Crafts Society revolted against the Victorian period of excess was because of frivolities like the butter pat. Formal Victorian tables were always set with great opulence and excess utensils. While the traditional table of the time was set with bread that was unbuttered and placed in the folds of the guest’s napkins other courses required a good buttering. The pats of butter were served on small plates, about 3 inches in diameter, placed left of center of the service plate.Butter was perhaps given such a place of honor not just because of its decadent flavor but because of the labor involved in creating it. Store bought butter was unheard of and many hours went in to making each pound. Some families even had their family crests carved in to a butter stamp and embossed their dairy with the familial signature for effect. Even the butter pats may have been personalized with hand painting. The Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876 created a movement among genteel women to begin painting porcelains. Butter pats were a popular and simple dish to complete for their home or to give as gifts"

Items donated by Barbara Sayers Larson. Barbara Larson is the daughter of Annie Harris (1882-1986) and Beverly Sayers (1883-1976) and granddaughter of Arthur (1843-1932) and Mary (1859-1954) Harris. Barbara was born January 27, 1920 and was the youngest of three children. Barbara and her siblings, Geoffrey Sayers (1907-1997) and Dora Sayers Caro (1915-2004) donated Benares to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1969 after inheriting it from their aunt, Naomi Harris (1883-1968). Many of the items donated by Barbara originally belonged to her mother or Aunt Naomi and came from Benares. Barbara lived in a log cabin originally given to her mother by her grandparents at 1723 Birchwood Drive. She still maintains a close tie with Benares and is now living in Kelowna, British Columbia, with her daughter.
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