Paul de Lamerie
( 1688 - 1751 )
A Set of Four Square Salvers
All square with incurved covers above cast panel supports, the centres each engraved with a coat-of-arms within formal scrolling foliate and brickwork cartouches embellished with winged figures, shells and husk festoons, further engraved at the borders with strapwork, husks and other motifs incorporating crested cartouches at the angles, the undersides engraved: ‘CHESELDEN HENSON.’
The arms are those of Johnson, granted to Matthew Johnson of Withcote, Leicestershire on 9 July 1707. He was born about 1736 and eventually held the post of Clerk of the Parliaments (chief clerk of the House of Lords) between 1691 and 1716. Mr Johnson and his wife, Margaret, a member of the family of Sir Geoffrey Palmer, 1st Bt. of Carlton, Northamptonshire, whom he married in 1676, had two sons, Thomas (d. 1725) and Geoffrey (d. 1742) and two daughters, Frances (d. before 1742) and Elizabeth (1688?-1754).
The probable original owner of these salvers, therefore, was Geoffrey Johnson, residuary legatee of his father’s estate. In the event he died unmarried and without issue, leaving his estate to his sister, Elizabeth to be enjoyed during her lifetime and then by her descendants. Like her brother, Elizabeth died unmarried and without issue, whereupon Geoffrey’s estate passed to their Palmer cousins (National Archives, PROB 11/596, 717 and 808).
Withcote Chapel next to Withcote Hall, once home of the Johnson family, is a listed building on the Oakham Road, Withcote, Leicestershire, which has commemorative marble monuments to Matthew Johnson and his wife, Margaret, and to their children, Geoffrey and Elizabeth.
The name Cheselden Henson on the underside of these salvers is likely to have been that of a former owner, probably Cheselden Henson, Esq. of 16 Lansdown Place, Cheltenham and of Bainton House, Northamptonshire, who died on 19 June 1861, aged 77.
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.
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