267
267

PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR

A Set of Twelve early George II Silver Dinner Plates from the Earl of Warrington's Service, Peter Archambo, London, 1728
Estimation
200 000300 000
Lot. Vendu 290,500 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
267

PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR

A Set of Twelve early George II Silver Dinner Plates from the Earl of Warrington's Service, Peter Archambo, London, 1728
Estimation
200 000300 000
Lot. Vendu 290,500 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important English & Continental Silver & Objects of Vertu

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A Set of Twelve early George II Silver Dinner Plates from the Earl of Warrington's Service, Peter Archambo, London, 1728
plain circular, the borders finely engraved with contemporary arms and supporters beneath an Earl's coronet
marked on underside of borders, bases numbered and engraved with scratch weights
diameter 9 3/4 in.
24.8cm
256oz
7962g
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Provenance

The arms are those of George Booth, 2nd Earl of Warrington (1675-1758), to his daughter and heiress
Lady Mary Booth (1704-72), wife of Harry Grey, 4th Earl of Stamford (1715-1768), by descent to their great-grandson
George, 7th Earl of Stamford (1827-1883), to his wife's grand-niece
Catherine, Lady Grey, to her son
Sir John Foley Grey, 8th Bart., of Enville Hall, sold
Christie's, London, 20 April 1921, part of lots 102-113

Bibliographie

James Lomax and James Rothwell, Country House Silver from Dunham Massey, The National Trust, 2006, see cat. no. 24 and the transcription of Particulars of my Plate

Description

The arms are those of George Booth of Dunham Massey, who succeeded his father as 2nd Earl of Warrington in 1694.  Towards the close of his life, he drew up in his own hand an inventory of the extensive collection of silver he had assembled; with a few changes, it came to the astonishing total of 26,589 ounces in 1754.

The Pariticular of my Plate records "12 douzen of Plates" - in fact, eight dozen dinner plates plus two dozen soup plates.  Each is numbered and listed separately with its weight, information also engraved on the back of each of the pieces.  The offered plates comprise:
No 55  21-13-1/2
No 79  21-19-1/2
No 110  21-12
No 116  21-10
No 120  21-16
No 125  21-9
No 126  21-11-1/2
No 128  21-6-1/2
No 130  21-4-1/2
No 134  21-9-2
No 135  21-13-1/2
No 136  21-10-1/2

The Earl's dinner plates are distinguished by their wide, plain borders and heavy weight - each approximately two ounces heavier than most contemporary examples.  The cost of the metal, approximately 5 shilling 6 pence per ounce, was joined by only 1 shilling per once for fashioning the plates.  This economy on the decoration was typical of Lord Warrington who, other than the splendid display of his arms, was not prepared to spend unrecoverable sums on the ornamentation of his silver - as opposed to style-conscious clients such as the Earl of Chesterfield, who were prepared to have the cost of fashioning almost equal that of the precious metal.

The dinner and soup plates, together with the three dozen gilt dessert plates, are all marked by Archambo and dated 1728/29.  This represents a huge outlay by the Earl on plate that year - approximately £1,280 as calculated by James Lomax and James Rothwell.  Since this same year he acquired the 577-ounce fountain by Archambo, possibly the earlier cistern en suite of 282 ounces, and a 23-piece silver-gilt toilet service by Isaac Liger, the total represented a huge investment.  This was the beginning of Lord Warrington's active acquiring of plate, and indicates that his estates had been re-established on a solid footing by this date.

He had succeeded in 1694 to a title and estates heavily burdened by debt, and made rehabilitation the focus of his life.  His marriage to 1702 to Mary, daughter and heir of John Oldbury, Merchant of London, which brought him 40,000 pounds, was otherwise unfortunate.  After her entire fortune had been used to pay his debts 'they quarrell'd and lived in the same house as absolute strangers to each other at bed and board'.  As a result of this experience he published in 1739 a treatise on the desirability of divorce on the grounds of incompatibility.  He was himself perhaps not the most agreeable of companions, being condemned by a contemporary as "the stiffest of all stiff things."

On the Earl's death in 1758 the title became extinct and his house and fortune - including the 26,000 ounces of plate - passed to his only daughter Mary, who had married Harry (Grey), 4th Earl of Stamford in 1736.  The title of Earl of Warrington was recreated for their eldest son in 1796 and survived until the 7th Earl of Stamford in 1883.  The Stamford Earldom then passed to a second cousin once removed, who was a missionary in South Africa, married to a native.  The 7th Earl divided up his various properties in his will, leaving the Staffordshire estates with Enville Hall, where he resided and to which the Warrington silver had been removed, to a grand niece of his wife.  She was married to Sir Henry Foley Lambert Bt., who subsequently changed his name to Foley-Grey.  Although she sold some of the silver to her kinsman Roger Grey, the 24-year-old 10th Earl of Stamford, most was dispersed by Christie's in 1921.  Lord Grey purchased as much as he could, and his efforts have been continued by the National Trust, current administrators of Dunham Massey. 

Important English & Continental Silver & Objects of Vertu

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New York