This fine pair of armorial & crested early George III Irish silver 2 handled cups were made in Dublin in 1769/70 by Matthew West. They measure 5.25 inches tall by 6.75 inches handle to handle and are 3 1/8 inches in dia across the foot. They have cast scroll handles either side with acanthus leaf thumb pieces and spiral drop detailing where they attach to the body, they have a central girdle and bear a crest to one side with the motto FIRM and to the other a lovely coat of arms. They are fully hallmarked to the sides and are superb quality and weigh 30.45 ounces or 947 grams – in excellent condition and as useful as the day they were made.
The Arms of the Family of Reid
The arms as engraved upon this Pair of George III Irish Silver Two Handled Cups by Matthew West hallmarked Dublin 1769/70 are those of the family of Reid. They may be blazoned as follows:
Arms: Quarterly 1st and 4th Argent an eagle displayed sable charged upon its breast with an escutcheon gules (for Reid) 2nd and 3rd Or on a saltire azure nine lozenges of the field (for Dalrymple)
Crest: Issuant from clouds a dexter cubit arm holding a book all proper (for Reid)
Although the style of the engraving of these armorial bearings is in my opinion certainly contemporaneous with the manufacture of this pair of cups, it would appear that the arms were originally of Scottish origin for they were later confirmed at Dublin by Sir William Betham, Ulster King of Arms in 1830. When confirming these arms and crest Sir William blazoned the crest as follows: ‘Issuant from a rock a cubit dexter hand….’. There is a presumption that Sir William was correct and that the engraver of the crest who originally engraved ‘clouds’ was in error given the connection with the Ayrshire and Galloway (South West Scotland) family of Dalrymple whose crest is ‘a rock proper’ and whose motto is also ‘Firm’. It is not inconceivable that the Reids themselves had no great knowledge of their arms and crest and mistook the ‘rock’ for ‘clouds’ for it is not to be presumed that armigerous families such as the Reids had any great heraldic knowledge when having caused the engraving of their arms upon the cups. As mentioned, the arms were confirmed to Robert Reid, Esq, MD, of 16 Belvedere Place in the City of Dublin and Henry Reid, Esq, of Phibbleston in the County of Dublin, son of the Reverend James Reid, of Midleton in the County of Cork, who was the grandson of Andrew Reid, of Dumfries in the County of Dumfries-shire in South West Scotland.