Collecting, cleaning, displaying, researching, and appreciating TRIVETS and related go-withs!
Antique version: Cast iron, 9 1/8″ x 4 1/2″ x 7/8″ with three feet
This unique and handsome trivet features leaves and branches, the silhouette of a hunting dog and a heart shaped handle. I like to imagine the design was commissioned to honor a beloved companion.
Most collectors refer to this design as Ned the dog. My antique trivet is unsigned on the reverse. However, once I saw this design, with the same measurements and design as my antique trivet, on eBay. Inscribed on the reverse, in the 4 o’clock position, were the letters NED. Unfortunately that trivet had already been sold so I didn’t have the opportunity to buy it.
William Paley of Ontario, Canada was a prolific trivet collector. After his death in 1983 his collection was bequeathed to the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, where 200 of the finest examples remain on display today as the Paley Exhibit. His article Birds and Animals in Trivets (September 1967, Spinning Wheel Magazine) spoke of this trivet. “The dog, a descendant of the fox, is sometimes difficult to distinguish from the latter. Very slight bas-relief modeling, consisting only of rounding edges, is shown on the cast iron trivet of Fig.3.” (Paley hand drew all the trivet images for his magazine articles.)
This trivet appears on p.78 of my second book The Expanded A-Z Guide To Collecting Trivets (2010). It’s also documented on p.122 of A Collectors Guide To Trivets & Stands (1990) by Rob Roy Kelley and James Ellwood, rated Very Rare. I didn’t find it in either of the Dick Hankenson trivet books.
Be aware the Metropolitan Museum of Art sold a reproduction of this design in their MMA Museum Gift Shop in New York City. Note the modification to the handle area. The trivet is marked © MMA on the reverse.
Reproduction: Cast iron, 7 1/8″ x 4 3/8″ x 5/8″ with four feet
Since I have both trivets, let’s compare them side by side. Study the area by the dog’s head. Note the spacing between the edge of the trivet and the head on the antique trivet (L). The MMA reproduction (R) reveals the head is molded in one piece with the side.
In her book A Collectors Guide To Pressing Irons and Trivets (1977) Esther Berney showed an image of this trivet ~ calling it “a trivet with a dog.” She commented: “To incorporate animals, birds, or insects in trivet designs took greater craftsmanship than producing a simple geometric motif. That is why fewer such trivets were made.” Take a look below.
Berney’s dog trivet doesn’t have a handle; the top area is rounded and doesn’t appear to be broken. The head is molded into the side. Could her trivet actually be the MMA reproduction? Berney didn’t mention if it was signed on the reverse.
I contacted the Metropolitan Museum Gift Shop (in June 2018) asking for information on this trivet. Unfortunately no inventory records could be found and no one remained who remembered selling it. Just from examining it and noting the glossy finish, short legs and MMA copyright logo on the reverse, I’d estimate this modern reproduction was most likely sold between 1960 and 1980.
If anyone reading this ever purchased one of these trivets through the MMA Gift Shop, I’d be interested in learning the year(s) it was for sale. Thanks in advance for your help!
The following comment is shared by Susan Gail Garner.
I own the MMA reproduction trivets of the bee & the dog. My mom purchased them in the late 60’s or early 70’s I think. She found them in a second hand shop in New York state. The shop owner said her mom had acquired them from MMA’s gift shop some time in the early 60’s. Wish I had more conclusive information to share.
I started my collection with trivits from my great grandmother that came down through the family. I remember being excited to find them at flea markets & yard sales for 25¢ & people laughing at this kid buying a chunk of old iron. But to me they are art, history, craftsmanship & family treasure all bound together.