When I visit antique centres, I enjoy trawling for unusual small objects and then going on a hunt to hopefully discover their origin. One of my first finds at the wonderfully eclectic Woolloongabba Antique Centre was this small metal enamel tray, labeled in the dealer’s shop as Belgian. Excluding the handles, it measures 20cm x 14cm at the widest points of the tray.
Looking for internet clues, I discovered the name of Max Dannhorn, a German manufacturer of magic lanterns and optical toys. He also designed a range of enamel trays with metal surrounds, which he commissioned Villeroy & Boch to manufacture. I found reference to a larger version of the tray (three times the size) here at Easterbelle’s Emporium in Arizona. The tray was manufactured somewhere between 1895 and 1905. That’s as much as we can guess. As to who has owned it and where it’s been over all those years? That mystery is part of the pleasure.