• The Collection of Benjamin F.  auction at Christies

    Sale 2388

    The Collection of Benjamin F. Edwards III

    26 January 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 163

    A SET OF FOUR GEORGE II SILVER WAITERS

    MARK OF PAUL DE LAMERIE, LONDON, 1738

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A SET OF FOUR GEORGE II SILVER WAITERS
    MARK OF PAUL DE LAMERIE, LONDON, 1738
    Each shaped circular, on foliate bracket feet, the reeded border with shell and scroll motifs at intervals, the field flat-chased with a border of shells, foliage and fish scale, the center engraved with a coat-of-arms within an asymmetrical rococo cartouche, each marked on reverse, also engraved No. 1 13=4, No. 2 15=14, No. 3 15=0, No. 4 13=0
    7 in. (17.7 cm.) diameter; 56 oz. (1,744 gr.) (4)


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    The arms are those of Lamb.

    These waiters were commissioned by Matthew Lamb, a successful lawyer and money lender, who served some of the most prominent members of the 18th century English aristocracy. Lamb amassed a fortune through his professional associations, inheritance, and advantageous marriage to the heiress, Charlotte Coke. His real estate holdings included Melbourne Hall in Derbyshire (through his wife), Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire and property in London.

    To demonstrate his position of influence, Lamb commissioned silver from England's premier silversmiths, Paul de Lamerie and the Royal Goldsmith, George Wickes, around the time of his marriage in 1739. His Lamerie purchases included four waiters (reunited here as a complete set), four sauce boats (a pair sold in these Rooms, 22 May 2008, lot 201) and four salt cellars. His Wickes purchases included a soup tureen and six dishes.

    Upon his death in 1768, Lamb's estate was valued at nearly £1 million. His will stated that his plate should be "kept and preserved" and the silver was bequeathed to his son, Peniston Lamb, Viscount Melbourne. In turn, Viscount Melbourne commissioned the Royal Goldsmiths, Parker and Wakelin to make additions to the dinner service (including a matching soup tureen to his father's tureen made by Wickes). This order coincided with his marriage to Caroline Milbanke in 1770, who was to become the mistress of George IV. Lamb's son, William, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (1779-1848) served as Prime Minister from 1835-1841. The silver descended though Lord Melbourne's sister, Lady Cowper, who married secondly the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston.

    Caption:
    Sir Matthew Lamb (1704-1768)
    Courtesy of Lord Ralph Kerr and The Melbourne Trust

    Provenance

    Sir Matthew Lamb, baronet (1704-1768), m. Charlotte Coke (b. 1710), to his son
    Peniston Lamb, 1st Viscount Melbourne (1748-1828), m. Elizabeth Milbanke (1749-1818), thence by descent, sold the Late the Rt. Hon Viscountess Gage, Christie's, London, 24 November 1971, lot 23
    Sotheby's, New York, 4 June 1974, lot 78
    Christie's, Geneva, 13 May 1986, lot 126
    Sotheby's, New York, 22 April 1998, lot 20
    Marks Antiques, London
    A West Coast Collection, sold Christie's, New York, 23 October 2008, lot 216 (two)
    The Chen Collection, sold Lyon & Turnbull, London, 23 November 2008, lot 204 (two)
    With Alastair Dickenson, London