Thomas Heming was the son of a Midlands merchant and was apprenticed in 1738 to the goldsmith Edmund Bodington, but on the same day was turned over to Peter Archambo. A. G. Grimwade, London Goldsmiths 1697-1837, London, 1982, p.543., describes his early work as showing 'a French delicacy of taste and refinement of execution which is unquestionably inherited from his master Archambo'. He registered his first mark in 1745 and soon acquired many good clients including John, 3rd Earl of Bute, for whom he was to supply large quantities of plate (see for example Christie's London, 3 July 1996, lots 77-83). Most importantly for Heming, it was Bute's relationship with George, Prince of Wales, later George III, that was to lead to Heming's appointment in 1760 as Principal Goldsmith to the King. He was to hold this post until 1782, when he was forced to resign after a malicious campaign to discredit him through accusations of excessive charges. Bank accounts at Messers Campbell and Coutts record the separate account administered by Bute which was used for the purchase of plate for the King. A payment of 1,000 is recorded on 11 July 1761 to Thomas Heming.
Two further examples of this distincive model, also by Heming, were sold Christie's London, 19 October 1988, lot 162 and Christie's New York, 22 April 1993, lot 73.