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    Sale 2259

    Important Objects of Vertu, English, Continental and American Silver

    22 May 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 187

    A FINE GEORGE III SILVER SOUP TUREEN

    MARK OF JOHN WAKELIN AND WILLIAM TAYLER, LONDON, 1777

    Price Realised  

    A FINE GEORGE III SILVER SOUP TUREEN
    MARK OF JOHN WAKELIN AND WILLIAM TAYLER, LONDON, 1777
    Oval, set on oval stand with four bud feet, the tureen with bellflower garlands and applied with handles with ram's-head joins, the domed cover surmounted by a sculptural finial of a putto astride a Bacchic lion, flat-chased on cover and stand with scrolling foliage, a crest and Viscount's coronet engraved on each side of the stand, tureen and cover, with silver liner, the stand marked No 2 52=18, the tureen marked No 2 113"19, the cover marked No 1, the liner marked No 2 25"16, marked on stand, tureen, cover, and liner
    16¾ in. (42.5 cm.) long over handles; 187 oz. 10 dwt. (5,844 gr.)


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    The pair to this tureen sold Christie's, New York, 27 October 1987, lot 392.

    From his many childless relatives, Sir James Lowther inherited a slew of estates in Northern England, collecting an annual income of 45,000 before his twenty-first birthday, a sum that grew throughout his life with further investment in the coal-mining industry in west Cumberland.

    Sir James's ambitious political career was marked by a series of complicated relationships with England's Prime Ministers. In 1761, he married Lady Mary Stuart (1740-1824), daughter of Prime Minister John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (1713-1792). Much to Sir James's disappointment, the influence he had gained from the connection to the Stuart family subsided when George Grenville (1712-1770), a Whig, became Prime Minister in 1763. In 1784 Sir James was created Earl of Lonsdale under Prime Minister William Pitt the younger (1759-1806), but threatened to withdraw his support from the same eight years later, when he was denied a Dukedom.

    The Earl was famous for his wealth and power in Northern England, declared "perhaps the richest subject that His Majesty has" by the Duke of Newcastle. His political tenacity was often an alienating force; Horace Walpole described him as "equally unamiable in public and private." He was capable of pleasantries, however, and it was observed by Scottish intellectual James Boswell (1740-1795) that "when he chooses to pay a compliment nobody can do it more gracefully."
    (For quotes see: Hugh Owen, The Lowther family: eight hundred years of 'A family of ancient gentry and worship', 1990, p. 283; Horace Walpole, Memoirs of the reign of King George the Third, ed. G.F.R. Barker, 1894, vol. 3, p. 195; Owen, p. 297)


    While the overall inspiration for the design of this tureen is decidedly French, the modelling of the figural group on the cover may be attributed to the celebrated English sculptor John Flaxman. Flaxman supplied designs and models to the potter Josiah Wedgwood in this period and also later on to the Royal Goldsmiths Rundell, Bridge & Rundell. The figural group on the present tureen is based on an antique Roman cameo illustrated in Montfaucon's L'Antiquité Expliquée, a source for a number of Flaxman's models. A similar figural group of a putto and a panther, also thought to be designed by Flaxman, appears on a tureen by Paul Storr of 1813 (sold Christie's, New York, April 16-17, 1985, lot 498).

    Provenance

    Sir James Lowther, Baronet (1736-1802), created 1st Earl of Lonsdale, 24 May 1784,
    by descent to Lancelot Edward Lowther, 6th Earl of Lonsdale (1867-1953),
    The Right Hon. The Earl of Lonsdale, sold Christie's, London, 19-20 February 1947, lot 94 (one of a pair)


    Pre-Lot Text

    ANOTHER PROPERTY