Antique George II Silver Dinner Plates by Paul de Lamerie


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Object Description

An important set of 12 antique sterling silver plates with plain styling and gadroon borders. Originally part of the extensive and well documented Mildmay service, the rims are hand engraved with the Mildmay coat of arms and Earl’s coronet. Excellent patina. Each is inscribed on the reverse with the scratchweight and numbered 49 through to 60. Total weight 7486 grams, 240.7 troy ounces. Diameter 24.13 cm, 9.5 inches. London 1737. Maker Paul de Lamerie, the celebrated Huguenot silversmith.

Biography – Paul de Lamerie (9 April 1688–1 August 1751). The Victorian and Albert Museum describes him as the “greatest silversmith working in England in the 18th century”.

Born in Bois-le-Duc, his French Huguenot family chose to follow William of Orange to England during the Glorious Revolution. In August 1703, de Lamerie became the apprentice to a London goldsmith of Huguenot origin, Pierre Platel (1659-1739). De Lamerie opened his own workshop in 1713 and was appointed goldsmith to George I in 1716. He worked in partnership with Ellis Gamble – formerly apprentice to Master William Hogarth- between 1723 and 1728. His early work is in the simple Queen Anne-styles, following classical French models, but de Lamerie is noted for his elaborate rococo style of the 1730s, particularly the richly-decorated works of an unidentified craftsman, the Maynard Master. Leaving his first premises in Great Windmill Street he moved to 40 Gerrard Street in 1738. Here he lived and probably had his shop, his workshops being located in one of the 48 properties he owned in the area.

His customers included Tsarinas Anna and Catherine, Count Aleksey, Sir Robert Walpole, Benjamin Mildmay (Earl Fitzwalter and Viscount Harwich), the Earl of Ilchester, the Earl of Thanet, Viscount Tyrconnell, the Duke of Bedford, and other members of the English aristocracy. He also worked for King George V of Portugal. One of his productions to the Portuguese Court was a huge solid silver bath tub lost in the great 1755 Lisbon earthquake. A two-handled silver cup and cover by Paul de Lamerie, dated 1720, was among the wedding gifts of Queen Elizabeth II.

Paul de Lamerie ranks as one of the stars of England’s finest period of silver. He was the most prolific silversmith of his time and his fame still lives on today.

Object History

Signed – On the rim to one side is the coat of arms for Mildmay quartering Fitzwalter with Schomberg on an escutcheon of pretence. Benjamin Mildmay, 19th Baron Fitzwalter (1672-1756) created Earl Fitzwalter in 1730. On the rim to the opposite side is the Mildmay crest with the earl’s coronet above and a cap of maintenance below.

Provenance – The Mildmay service was dispersed at some unknown date, probably between the Earl’s death in 1756 and the demolition of Moulsham Hall in 1809. In previous decades known examples have resurfaced in auction and some have been rehomed in museum collections.
This dozen set of first course plates, previously unrecorded, was formerly in the collection of Jennifer Ann Schmiedel, Germany (1942-2001).
Known examples in museum collections are:
12 dinner plates – Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA
Soup tureen – Hartman Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA

Object Literature

Benjamin Mildmay (1672-1756) held many titles and positions of state. In 1724 he married Frederica Darcy, daughter of the Duke of Schomberg, and also a descendant of James I of England – see,_Countess_of_M%C3%A9rtola. The couple resided at Schomberg House, Pall Mall in London and at the Mildmay family home of Moulsham Hall, Essex. Mildmay served as Commissioner of Excise between 1720 and 1728 and was created Baron Fitzwalter in 1728. In 1730 he was made Earl Fitzwalter and Viscount Harwich. In 1737 he was made Treasurer of the Household, a member of the Royal Household ranking second after the Lord Steward; this appointment granted him an entitlement of 1000oz of plate for personal use. Earl Fitzwalter died in 1756 with no heirs.

Inscribed on the reverse
Plate No Scratch Present
Weight Weight
49 20=11 625 grams
50 20=9 626 grams
51 20=5 618 grams
52 20=14 628 grams
53 20=7 622 grams
54 20=13 630 grams
55 20=18 645 grams
56 20=6 622 grams
57 20=16 621 grams
58 20=9 623 grams
59 19=19 604 grams
60 20=9 622 grams
Total 7486 grams

Object Condition

This rare dozen set of antique silver plates is in very good condition with no damage or alterations. The plates have not been polished out or erased; the surface scratching is compatible with their age. The engravings are original and still sharp with a small amount of wear. The plates bear the original scratch weight on the reverse and are numbered 49-60.

Each plate is stamped with a full and matching set of English silver hallmarks (on the reverse side traversing the crease of the rim to main body). The plates* were examined by the Antique Plate Committee in September 2017 and a letter, confirming the plates to be in accordance with the Hallmarking Act 1973, has been provided by Goldsmith Hall.

Object Details

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

Dealer Contact

+44 (0)207 288 1939
+44 (0)7904 297419

Dealer Location

Vault 31-32
The London Silver Vaults
53-64 Chancery Lane
London WC2A 1QS

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