Rare set of twelve Elizabeth I sycamore roundels
Circa 1580 - 1600
W Roundels 5 1/4 × H Box 6 3/4
Stock # Marh1607
Rare and complete set of twelve Elizabeth I polychromed sycamore roundels or (trenchers) in original polychromed turned box. During the banquet, a trencher would be placed in front of each guest. A delicacy would be presented on the unpainted side, which might include finely made sweet-meats, exotic spices, sugar confectionery, ornate marzipan sculptures or sweet gingerbread. These expensive ingredients and delicacies made a clear statement of wealth, status and power, and the trencher they were served on had to reflect this. Once the food was consumed the diner would turn the platter over to find painted and gilded images and texts; often biblical, moralising and sometimes humorous. These could be read aloud and discussed amongst the guests. They were intended to provoke discussion, encourage conviviality and provide prompts for story-telling, much like a Christmas cracker or fortune cookie today. Some texts were clearly intended to amuse.