This service was made for Leake Okeover and Mary Nichol, who married in about 1730. The elaborate design for the service, painted by the English portraitist Arthur Devis (1708-87), which was sent to China to be copied, has survived and still remains with descendants of the family, as does an original invoice dated 1743 for part of the service, which was addressed to 'Leake Okeover Esqre.' from Joseph Congreve, commander of the Prislowe; this invoice shows that the consignment comprised fifty plates and four large dishes with these arms, of which the present lot may have been included. For a discussion on this important service, see D. S. Howard, Chinese Armorial Porcelain, 1974, p.398.
The bulk of the Leake Okeover service, belonging to Colonel Sir Ian Walker-Okeover, Bt, DSO, was sold in these Rooms, 8 October 1973, lots 165-184, and were displayed during the view together with the original painting and invoice mentioned above, although these were not for sale. A similar plate is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, from the Helena Woolworth McCann Collection, illustrated by C. Le Corbeilller, China Trade Porcelain: Patterns of Exchange, New York, 1974; and also by C. Le Corbeiller and A. Frelinghuysen, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Winter 2003, no. 32. A dish from this service is illustrated by A. du Boulay, Christie's Pictorial History of Chinese Ceramics, 1984, p.274, fig.2. A plate from this service was sold in our New York Rooms, 21 January 1999, lot 229.