This set is described in the 2nd Earl's manuscript inventory, The Particular of my Plate and its Weight, 30 April 1750, revised 1754, as follows: A Trimming Bason 35:03. Ewer 21:18. Wash Ball Box 14:13, 71:14
George Booth, 2nd Earl of Warrington, was an important patron of the leading Huguenot silversmiths of his day, and his well-documented and vast collection provides us with a fascinating portrait not only of the 2nd Earl but also of the use of silver in a great house of the first half of the 18th century.
On his succession in 1693, the 2nd Earl inherited his father's prodigious debts along with his title. A strategic but ultimately unhappy marriage to Mary Oldbury, the daughter of a rich London merchant, brought him a dowry of /p40,000 in 1702. After nearly twenty years of extensive improvements to the parkland at Dunham Massey--it was said that he planted over 100,000 trees--the 2nd Earl devoted himself to his silver collection.
The Warrington plate is distinguished by its uniformly high quality, heavy gauge, and its conservative taste, as the Earl favored the plain and massive fashions of the early 18th century. His near obsession with building the collection at Dunham Massey is underscored by the existence of a lengthy inventory written in his own hand, titled "The Particular of my Plate & Its Weight." The seventeen-page document, dated 1750 and amended by the Earl in 1754, records over 25,000 ounces of silver objects. Thanks to the Earl's passion for detail, we can differentiate between a "hand bason," a "bason to wash my mouth," and the present "trimming bason."
The Earl's only child, Mary, married the 4th Earl of Stamford in 1736, and after Warrington's death in 1758, Dunham Massey passed to them and subsequently descended in the Grey family, Earls of Stamford. A significant portion of the Warrington plate, including the present lot, was sold by their heirs at Christie's in two sales, on April 20, 1921, and February 25, 1931.
(For further biography of the 2nd Earl of Warrington, see John Hayward, "The Earl of Warrington's Plate," Apollo, July 1978, and Timothy Schroder, "George Booth and William Beckford: A Study In Patronage," International Silver and Jewellery Fair Annual, 1989)