This superb pair of armorial and crested George I Britannia silver plates were made in London in 1725 by master silver smith Paul De Lamerie and measure 9.5 inches in dia and are from the well documented Mildmay Service. They have a plain reed border and have a coat of arms to the top and crest to the bottom and are fully and clearly hallmarked to the backs along with No34 and No 14 and the weights engraved. They are in very good condition and weigh 36.05 ounces or 1121 grams and as useful as the day they were made by the man who is arguably the best silver smith of all time.
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.
The Marital Arms of Benjamin Mildmay, the 1st Earl FitzWalter with Schomberg in pretence
The arms as engraved upon this Pair of George I Britannia Silver Plates by Paul de Lamerie hallmarked London 1725 are those of the family of Benjamin Mildmay, the 1st Earl FitzWalter with an escutcheon of pretence for Schomberg. These armorial bearings denote the marshalling of a marital coat showing the quartered arms of the husband over the entire surface of the shield, whilst the arms of the wife as a heraldic heiress1 are placed on a small shield (known as an escutcheon of pretence) centrally upon the husband’s arms. These arms may be blazoned as follows:
1 A heraldic heiress or co-heiress is a daughter who has no brothers or whose brothers have died without surviving issue, and whose father is dead. If she marries, her husband (as above) bears her paternal arms on an escutcheon of pretence on his own. On the death of a heraldic heiress, her arms are transmitted as a quartering to her issue if any.
Arms: Quarterly 1st and 4th Argent three lions rampant azure armed and langued gules (for Mildmay) 2nd and 3rd Or a fess between two chevronels gules (for FitzWalter) over all an escutcheon of pretence Quarterly 1st and 4th Argent an inescutcheon sable over all an escarbuncle of eight rays or 2nd and 3rd Gules six escutcheons argent three two and one2 (for Schomberg)
Crest: A chapeau gules turned up ermine winged also gules the points of the wings surrounded with a band therefrom pendant a mortar fesswise the whole ensigned with an estoile or (for Mildmay)3
This crest is ensigned with an earl’s coronet.4
These armorial bearings undoubtedly commemorate the marriage of Benjamin Mildmay (born 27th December 1672 died 29 February 1756), the 19th Baron FitzWalter5 and later the 1st Earl Fitzwalter and Lady Frederica Susanna Schomberg (born 1687 died 7th August 1751). Benjamin and Frederica were married at the Parish Church of St James, Piccadilly in the County of Middlesex on the 18th June 1724. Benjamin was second son of Benjamin Mildmay, the 17th Baron FitzWalter and his wife, the Honourable Catherine Fairfax, the daughter of William Fairfax, the 3rd Viscount Fairfax of Emley, whilst Lady Frederica was the third daughter (and eldest surviving daughter, and co-heiress),of Meinhardt Schomberg, the 3rd Duke of Schomberg and the 1st Duke of Leinster and his wife, Raugräfin Karoline Elisabeth, the second daughter of Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine and his wife, Marie Luise von Degenfeld. The marriage to Benjamin was Lady Frederica’s for she was firstly married to Robert Darcy, the 3rd Earl of Holderness from 1715 to Robert’s death in 1721. Lady Frederica was also the Countess of Mértola in her own right having inherited her father’s Portuguese comital title upon his death in 1719.
Benjamin succeeded as the 19th Baron FitzWalter upon the death of his brother Charles Mildmay, the 18th Baron FitzWalter in 1728. In 1730 Benjamin was advanced within the peerage as Viscount Harwich, in the County of Essex, and Earl FitzWalter, all in the Peerage of Great Britain. He later served as President of the
2 Although it appears to be omitted here, often there is a further escutcheon of pretence charged over the four Schomberg quarters, viz: ‘Gules a cavalier in armour proper mounted on a horse in full course argent holding in his right hand a battle axe’. 3 This is probably a secondary crest for Mildmay through inheritance. 4 The arms were probably engraved shortly after Benjamin and Lady Frederica marriage in 1724, whilst the crest ensigned with an earl’s coronet was engraved after Benjamin was advanced to the Earldom of FitzWalter in 1730. 5 A Barony by Writ within the Peerage of England originally created on the 23rd June 1295 and further created by writ on the 10th February 1669.
Board of Trade and was also Lord Lieutenant of Essex. Upon his death in 1756, both the Earldom of FitzWalter and the Viscountcy of Harwich fell into extinct for want of a male heir, whilst the Barony of FitzWalter fell into abeyance. This abeyance was only terminated in 1924 when the 20th Baron FitzWalter was summoned to Parliament to take his seat in the House of Lords.
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.
Known examples in museum collections are:
12 dinner plates – Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA same coat of arms London 1725.
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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederica_Mildmay,_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.
Signed/Inscribed: 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.