part-fluted vase-shaped body with foliate swags surrounding two oval plaques, one bearing the inscription Amicis et Condiscipulus suis J.D.C J.T.C B.F.C. D.D.D. F.G.S memor actae non alio rege Pueritiae, and with border of putti entwined amongst tendrils, fluted cover with pineapple finial
Commissioned by General John Graves Simcoe and presented by him and his son to George Coleridge
Thence by descent to the present owners
This elegant cup was commissioned by General John Graves Simcoe (1752-1806), first governor of Upper Canada and founder of Toronto, and was presented to George Coleridge (1764-1828). It commemorated the time the General's son Francis Gwillim Simcoe spent at Kings's School, Ottery St. Mary, where George Coleridge was master and the young Coleridges were Simcoe's schoolmates. The inscription refers to their friendship, and the initials are those of John Duke Coleridge and his brothers John Taylor and Bernard Frederick. The charming Latin tag is the work of young Simcoe, with or without the assistance of George Coleridge.
General Simcoe was a neighbour living in Wolford Lodge, Dunkerwell. He had been educated at Exeter and Eton before joining the army, where he served with valour during the War of Independence. On returning to England he became MP for St Mawes in Cornwall and settled in Devon. In 1791, he was appointed the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada; initially selecting Newark (now Niagara) as his capital, he devoted his energies to the defence, agricultural development and mapping of the region. Lake Simcoe is named after him, and he named the local river after the Thames and founded the new town of London on its banks. In 1793 he moved the capital to the newly founded Toronto.
At the time this cup was presented to George Coleridge, Simcoe had returned to England where he was further promoted and placed in charge of Plymouth, in readiness for a potential French invasion. In 1806 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief in India but he died on the outbound voyage. He is commemorated in Exeter Cathedral by one of John Flaxman's greatest monuments, reflecting his admiration for the natives of North America and Canada. Francis Gwillim Simcoe, his son, also entered the army but was killed in service during the Peninsular War.
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