See the royal dessert-service made for Frederick the Great, the Japani-sches Tafelservice, for Schloss Sanssouci in 1769-70, a plate from this service was sold by Christie's, London, 1 May 2002, lot 16. This service was used in the Chinese Pavilion in the grounds of the palace of Sanssouci at Potsdam and echoes the style of the present service.
The Chinese Pavilion at Sanssouci was of clover-leaf shape in plan; it has a circular central hall in which intimate dinners took place. The building was inspired by the pavilion erected by the French architect Emmanuel Héré de Corny (1705-1763) for the exiled Polish king Stanislaus Lesczynski in the gardens of his palace at Lunéville. The architect, Johann Gottfried Büring, used its clover-leaf shaped ground plan at Sanssouci, where three anterooms adjoin a central circular hall. Due to the Seven Years' War the building was not finished until 1762. The exterior is embellished with gilded stone Oriental figures playing instruments, drinking tea and eating fruit sculpted by Johann Gottlieb Heymüller and Johann Peter Benckert. Between the anterooms on the exterior are open bays where the conical copper roof is supported by gilded palm-trees, and at the top of the roof is a seated gilding mandarin with a parasol. The principal circular hall is lined with marble dyed pale-green and the tops of the windows and doors are decorated with gilded Oriental figures and monkeys. Above the entablature is a dome painted with a continuous scene of Orientals on a balustraded terrace below monkeys and parrots perched on festoons of vine. The distant landscape filled with mythical buildings and pavilions. The cartoon for the dome was provided by the Parisian artist Blaise Nicolas Le Sueur (1716-1783) and it was painted by Tomas Huber (1700-1779).
The figures on the tea and coffee-service have much in common with those painted by Huber on the ceiling of the dome. There were two print sources for the Oriental figures on the plates from the service made for Frederick the Great which most probably were also the sources for the present service; the engravings by Laurent Cars after François Boucher and Gabriel Huquier after François Boucher, 'Un livre de jolis sujets chinois', see Perrin Stein, 'Repackaging China for France: The Collaboration of François Boucher and Gabriel Huquier', French Porcelain Society Journal, 2011, Vol. IV, pp. 50-67, and Pillement's The Ladies Amusement: or, Whole Art of Japanning Made Easy published in London circa 1760.
See also Johanna Lessmann et al., Berliner Porzellan des 18. Jahrhunderts, Hamburg, 1993, pp. 50-57 for wares decorated with chinoiseries including pieces from the Japanischen Tafelservice.
The present service formed part of the collection at Panshanger, and was almost certainly acquired by either Peter, 5th Earl Cowper (d. 1836), or by Thomas, 2nd Earl de Grey (d. 1859) for Wrest Park. The latter's collection of French furniture and objects partially came to Panshanger through his daughter, Anne, wife of Francis, 7th Earl Cowper. The Fifth Earl demolished the original house, Cole Green Park, in 1801 and sought the advice of Humphrey Repton and later commissioned the architect William Atkinson to complete the project.