These sauceboats are based on examples from the well known "Marine Service" commissioned by Frederick, Prince of Wales in 1741-44. This service, which remains in the Royal Collection, comprises a centerpiece, a set of four sauceboats, and various models of salt cellars, most marked by Nicholas Sprimont. The present sauceboats are exact copies of Sprimont's examples of 1743 and 1744. The figures surmounting the sterns of these sauceboats have in the past been identified as Venus and Adonis, but they more likely represent a water nymph and her companion.
A number of English silversmiths copied elements of the "Marine Service," most notably James Young and Robert Hennell, who made a centerpiece and sauceboats matching the present examples, and salts for Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland, in 1780. (Christie's, London, January 16, 1944, lots 44-47)
An idea of the original cost of these sauceboats is given in the Garrard Ledgers, where the Earl of Harborough on February 13, 1819 was charged for "8 finely chased sauceboats with figure handles supported by dolphins and rock work. 465ozs 10dwts £519 5s." (Garrard Ledgers, Victoria and Albert Museum, GL2, p.101)
These sauceboats are identical to a pair in the Audrey Love Collection (illustrated in Anthony Phillips and Jeanne Sloane, Antiquity Revisited, English and French Silver-Gilt from the Audrey Love Collection, 1997, p. 60.) Another pair marked by Robert Garrard II in 1824 is illustrated in Joseph Bliss The Jerome and Rita Gans Collection of English Silver on Loan to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1994, p. 196.