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A PAIR OF GEORGE III SILVER-GILT SPICE-BOXES, COVERS AND STANDS maker's mark of John Wakelin and Robert Garrard, London, 1800 Shaped-oval, the boxes on four curved feet, each with fluted borders and engraved between with panels of strapwork and latticework on a matted ground, the stand and boxes with applied shell handles, the boxes with central divider, the domed covers with detachable stylised bud finials, each engraved with crests with Earl's coronet above, marked on stands, boxes and covers, the finials unmarked - the stand 8¾in. (22.5cm.) long, 4¼in. (11cm.) high overall 37ozs. (1,156grs.) The crest is that Edgcumbe for Richard, 2nd Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, Lord Lieutenant and Vice Admiral of Cornwall (1764-1839). Having been educated at Christ Church College, Oxford, he entered politics and became M.P. for Lostwithiel 1790-1791 and for Fowey 1791-1795. On his father's death in 1795 he succeded to the Earldom and was elevated to the House of Lords. He married Sophia, third daughter and co-heir of John, 2nd Earl of Buckingham in 1789. He was renowned as a connoisseur of opera and wrote four works on Italian Opera, some published under a pseudonym. He was also known as a talented amateur actor and was, in the words of Madame d'Arblay, '...a most neat little beau and his face has the roses and lillies as finely blended as that of his pretty young wife'. Cyrus Redding was a little less complimentary in his Fifty Years Recollections, where on p. 175, vol. I, he describes the Earl as 'a mere fribble, exhibiting little above the calibre of an opera connoisseur, with something of the mimic.' (2)
John Wakelin and Robert Garrard, Gentleman's Ledger No.3

Lot Essay

These spice boxes are listed in John Wakelin and Robert Garrard's Gentleman's Ledger No.3, folio 21, in The Victoria and Albert Museum.
Jany 7 To 2 small basons & covers with partitions and
stands, rich chased borders 37.4 - #31.4s.7d
To gilding Do in the best manner #10.10s
To engr crests and corts -.10

The strapwork engraved borders are very similar to those on a set of four shell-shaped dishes, sold from The Patino Collection, Christie's New York, 28 October 1986, lot 23, also by John Wakelin and Robert Garrard and listed in the ledgers for 8 February 1800. Together with the charges for the fashioning, gilding and engraving of the dishes is an entry for 'smoothing and polishing four old dishes'. These correspond to a set of four circular fluted dishes by Paul Crespin, of 1730, engraved with identical borders and the arms of Mount Edgecumbe, which were with the London trade at the time of the Patino sale. Undoubtably the decoration on the shell-shaped dishes and the basons or spice boxes was copied from the earlier dishes, the group of plate probably intended to be used together.


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