Lot 151
  • 151

'The Matcham Service' An English porcelain dessert service, attributed to the Coalport factory but painted outside the factory, circa 1802

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Porcelain
painted at the centres with a fouled anchor and palm branches beneath a coronet and the gilded initials HN, the border painted with oak leaves reserving sepia panels depicting views of the Nile and Copenhagen, comprising:
fourteen round dessert plates, 20.5cm., 8 in. diameter;
three octagonal dessert plates, 19.6cm., 7 3/4 in. diameter;
four shell-shaped dishes, 20.5cm., 8in. long;
four shaped-oval dishes, 27.6cm., 10 7/8 in. wide;
an oval footed bowl, 31.3cm., 12 3/8 in. wide;
and a sauce tureen, cover and stand, the stand 21.2cm., 8 3/8 in wide,
six pieces with letter H or JC monogram script mark in black enamel, three with gilded letter M mark


The Matcham collection;
London, Sotheby’s, Trafalgar: Nelson and the Napoleonic Wars, 5 October 2005, lot 32;
Where acquired by the owner.


Formerly on loan to the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, 1939-1978.


P. D. Gordon Pugh, Naval Ceramics, Bath, 1971, pp. 39-41, pl. 47;
Rina Prentice, The Authentic Nelson, London, 2005, p. 144.

Catalogue Note

The Merton Inventory compiled after the death of Lord Nelson lists all of Emma Hamilton's possessions at her 'Paradise' Merton Place. The inventory listed five named services including the 'Nelson service', a dessert service, London-decorated on Coalport and Paris porcelain, painted at the centres with the full coat-of-arms of Horatio, Viscount Nelson;1 and the’ Baltic Service’, a tea and coffee service London-decorated on Paris porcelain, inscribed ‘Nelson/ 2nd April/ Baltic'. Both services like the present service are decorated with an oak-leaf border. The Baltic tea and coffee service, also from the Matcham collection, was offered for sale at Sotheby’s, Trafalgar: Nelson and the Napoleonic Wars, 5 October 2005, lot 22.2 
It has been suggested that the present dessert service may have been a gift from Nelson to his sister Catherine ‘Kitty’ Matcham (1767-1842). A plate from the present service is illustrated by Gordon Pugh, op. cit., pl. 47A.

[1] A plate from the ‘Nelson service’ was sold at Sotheby’s Olympia, 18th July 2007, lot 46, and a further Paris plate was sold Sotheby’s, Trafalgar sale, 2005, lot 90.
[2] Published by Rina Prentice, op. cit., p. 143. A teapot and milk jug from Nelson’s ‘Baltic service’ which had been in the possession of William, 1st Earl Nelson, the older brother of Nelson, and his wife Hilare Barlow, Countess Nelson, Duchess of Bronte were sold at Bonhams London, The Waterloo sale, 1st April 2015, lots 27 and 28.