This magnificent double armorial George II silver swing handled basket was made in London in 1753 by John Jacobs and measures 14 inches long by 12.5 inches wide and has a scroll and leaf designed cast border with cast cherubs holding wine cups with trailing vine and grapes and goats to both the top and bottom edge and where the carrying handle attaches there is an open mouthed mask with grapes and vine falling below and the cast and scrolled handles also having wheat sheaf, grapes and vine and acanthus leaf decoration, the 4 large cast and pierced feet also have shell, wheat sheaf, scroll and acanthus leaf designs and to the interior of the pierced basket there are chased flowers, scrolls and foliage and a coat of arms – this being the arms of Sir Robert Peel who was Prime Minister between 1845/5 and 1841/8. The arms on the handle are those of Darby with Grant in pretence, probably for Francis Darby (1753-1850) of Sunnyside House, Coalbrookdale. He was the great-great-grandson of John Darby who founded the celebrated
Coalbrookdale Ironworks. Francis married Hannah, only child and heiress of John Grant of Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, on 16th June 1808. The basket is in excellent condition weighing 59.75 ounces or 1859 grams and is as useful as the day it was made.
The Marital Arms of Darby and Grant with secondary Arms of Peel, Baronets of Drayton Manor, Co. Staffordshire
The primary arms as engraved upon this George II English Sterling Silver SwingHandled Basket by John Jacobs hallmarked London 1753 are those of the family of Darby with Grant in pretence. Whilst there are engraved in the bottom of the basket, the secondary arms of Peel, Baronets of Drayton Manor in the County of Staffordshire. The Darby and Grant arms may be blazoned as follows:
Arms: Per chevron embattled or and azure three eagles displayed counterchanged1 (for Darby) over all an escutcheon of pretence Gules a fess dancetty ermine between three antiques crowns or2 (for Grant)
1 At the time of Francis and Hannah’s marriage in 1808, Francis and his family were bearing without authority arms that belonged to a family of Darby, of Co. Dorset and London. The family later corrected this by receiving a grant of arms from the Kings of Arms at The College of Arms in 1835, viz: ‘Per chevron embattled azure and erminois three eagles displayed each charged on the breast with an escallop of the last’ [College of Arms – Grant Book: Volume XLI, folio 375]. 2 The arms pertain to the family of Grant, of Litchborough, Co. Northamptonshire from whom Hannah Grant descends.
These armorial bearings undoubtedly commemorate the marriage of Francis Darby (born 5th April 1783 died 20th March 1850), of Sunniside House, Coalbrookdale in the County of Shropshire and Hannah Grant (born 1783 died 1860), the only child of John Grant, of Leighton Buzzard in the County of Bedfordshire and his wife, Hannah Brooke, whilst Francis was eldest son of Abraham Darby, of Coalbrookedale and his wife, Rebecca Smith. Francis and Hannah were married at the Friends Meeting House at Leighton Buzzard on the 16th June 1808. Here it should be noted that the Darby family were well-established ironmasters at Colebrookdale.
Given the date of manufacture of this basket it was either a family piece or it was either purchased shortly after their marriage in 1808 or at some time during the course of same, but before 1835 when probably Francis was granted arms officially.
Marriage Entry of Francis Darby and Hannah Grant in the Registers of the Friends Meeting House at Leighton Buzzard, Co. Bedfordshire 6th June 1808.
The secondary armorial bearings of Peel, Baronets of Drayton Manor in the County of Staffordshire may be blazoned as follows:
Arms: Argent three sheaves of as of many arrows proper two and one banded gules on a chief azure a bee volant or [with in the dexter chief the augmentation of a Baronet]
Crest A demi-lion rampant argent gorged with a collar azure charged with three bezants holding between the paws a shuttle or
Supporters: Two lions guardant argent each gorged with a collar azure thereon three bezants and each charged on the shoulder with a trefoil vert
Motto: Industria [By industry]
From the evidence of the use of supporters these arms were engraved sometime after 1866 when The Right Honourable Sir Robert Peel (born 4th May 1822 died 9th May 1895), the 3rd Baronet of Drayton Manor was granted supporters3 to his arms that year when he was appointed as a Knight Grand Cross of the Civil Division of the Honourable Order of the Bath on the 5th January 1866. Sir Robert’s father was the famous Sir Robert Peel (born 5th February 1788 died 2nd July 1850), the 2nd Baronet of Drayton Manor who served as the First Lord of the Treasury (Prime Minster) twice, firstly from the 10th December 1834 to the 8 April 1835 and secondly from the 30th August 1841 to the 29th June 1846.
There appears to be no genealogical connection between the Darby and Peel families. Perhaps, the Peel family acquired this basket at a sale at some time prior to 1866.