This epergne was purchased by the Stationer's Company, London, with £37 10s left as a legacy by Sir Stephen Theodore Janssen, Lord Mayor of London, founder of the Battersea Enamel Company, Trustee for the Colony of Georgia, and brother-in-law to Charles, 5th Baron Baltimore and to Thomas Bladen, Governor of Maryland. The Company had to pay an additional £12 10s. of its own funds.
The inscription on the central basket reads: "The Bequest of Sir Stephen Theodore Janfsen BARONET Chamberlain of London MDCCLXXVII."
Sir Stephen Theodore Janssen, 4th Baronet (d. 1777) was a son of Dutch-born financier Theodore Jansen. He succeeded his two elder brothers, the 2nd and 3rd Baronets, in 1766. In 1753 he founded the Battersea enamel factory, and he was also president of the Anti-Gallican Society; at the same time, though, two of his brothers were resident in Paris, and have been linked with the commissioning of Thomas Germain's boars' head tureens (see Sotheby's, 13 November, 1996, lot 3). In 1754 he served as Lord Mayor of London. One of his sisters amrried Charles, 5th Baron Baltimore, while another married Thomas Bladen, Governor of Maryland. His connection with the American colonies was strengthened by his serving as a Trustee for the Colony of Georgia.
The Court Minutes of the Stationers' Company note a meeting 2 May 1780, when it was resolved:
That £12.10s be advanced out of the Corporation Stock to make up (with the £37.10s already received) the legacy left by Sir Stephen Janssen to this Company for a piece of plate.
We would like to thank Sue Hurley, Archivist for the Company, for her help with this lot.
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