Marks: London, sterling standard, 1747-48, maker’s mark of Paul de Lamerie (Grimwade no. 2204); marked on underside of tureen and on rim of cover
Length: 14.25 in (36.2 cm)
Height: 11 in (27.9 cm)
Weight: 116 oz 8 dwt (3,620 g)
The oval tureen has shaped bombé sides and rests on four ball and claw feet headed by lions’ masks, with a scroll and foliate loop handle at each end and a gadrooned rim; the sides are engraved with a coat of arms, motto, supporters and coronet. The loop handle of the conforming cover is set on a cartouche cast and chased with scrolling foliage, scalework, shells, eagles’ heads and lions’ masks. The cover is engraved with a crest.
Paul de Lamerie arrived in England with his Huguenot parents in or before 1689, having been baptized at 's Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands in 1688. In 1703 he was apprenticed to the Huguenot goldsmith Pierre Platel, and after being admitted to the freedom of the Goldsmiths' Company, he registered his first mark and set up a workshop in Windmill Street, Soho, in 1712. He took thirteen apprentices between 1715 and 1749 who paid premiums varying between £10 and £45m In 1716 he married Louisa Juliott, also a Huguenot, and by her had six children, three of whom died in childhood. Little more of his personal history is known, although his career in the Goldsmiths' Company is comparatively well documented. By 1717, he was already referred to as 'the King's Silversmith' but again in a complaint 'for making and selling Great quantities of Large Plate which he doth not bring to Goldsmith's Hall to be mark't according to Law.' He joined the livery in 1717; fourteen years later he was elected to the court of assistants. In 1743 he was appointed fourth warden and in 1747 second warden; that he never became prime warden probably due to ill health. From the outset he had wealthy clients such as the Honourable George Treby and the Duke of Sutherland. Among his more important later patrons were Sir Robert Walpole, Baron Anson, and the fifth Earl of Mountrath. A gradual expansion of his business culminated in his move in 1739 to considerably larger premises in Gerrard street. His pre-eminent position in the trade is signified by the commission he received in 1740 from the Goldsmiths' Company to provide two of their most splendid pieces of ceremonial display plate, a silver-gilt inkstand and the famous rococo ewer and dish.Description
The arms are those of Coventry probably for William, 5th Earl of Coventry (1678-1750) who married Elizabeth Allen, daughter of John Allen in 1719. He was M.P. for Bridport from 1708 to 1719 and succeeded to the title in 1719 following which he served as Lord-Lieutenant of Worcestershire until his death; he was also a Privy Councillor. He was a diligent custodian of the Coventry estates at Croome Court in Worcestershire; on becoming earl he ordered an inventory which detailed the repairs and maintenance that were required to the fabric of the house. Following his death his son, George William, 6th Earl of Coventry, spent a large proportion of his income on improving the house and park at Croome and he employed George Wickes and Samuel Netherton to refurbish his dinner service which included “new burnishing of terrines and covers”, “taking out and regraving of Arms” as well as putting new handles and feet on tureens.
The tureen is the same model as a pair of tureens of 1743 supplied to Sackville Tufton, 7th Earl of Thanet and now in the Cahn Collection (Ellenor Alcorn, Beyond the Maker’s Mark: Paul de Lamerie Silver in the Cahn Collection, 2006, p. 103, no. 38). A further tureen of 1751 engraved with the arms of Gorges, Lloyd and Sneyd belongs to Brasenose College, Oxford (Helen Clifford, Silver in London: The Parker and Wakelin Partnership 1760-1776, 2004, pp. 24-5, fig. 14).
The model dates from the middle of de Lamerie’s career. The earliest tureen bearing his mark is one of 1723, in the collection of the Duke of Bedford, which is circular and has a rim foot and formal Régence decoration (Michael Clayton, The Collector’s Dictionary of Silver and Gold of Great Britain and North Ameria, 1971, p. 365, pl. 62) which is clearly derived from French examples. By the late 1730s silversmiths had adopted the oval form resting on four mask or scroll feet, as in this example, which remained the basic form for tureens until the 1760s. Some examples, such as one supplied to George, 1st Baron Anson of 1750 (Susan Hare, Paul de Lamerie, The work of England’s Master Silversmith, 1990, p. 116, no. 73) have lively rococo ornament.
Tureens became fashionable in Britain during the 1720s and were used for the first course, and would have contained a variety of boiled meats, being already placed on the table when guests sat down to dine. They were removed for the second course of game, tarts and jellies (Ellenor Alcorn, op. cit., p. 104).