Edward Howard, 9th Duke of Norfolk (1686-1777) was born on 5 June, 1686, son of Henry, 7th Duke (1654-5-1701) and younger brother of Thomas, 8th Duke (1683-1732). Implicated in the Jacobite Rising of 1715, he was tried for high treason, and in deference to public opinion his house was searched, in vain, for arms. Through the influence of his brother Thomas, then Duke of Norfolk, and by virtue of the fact that no witnesses appeared against him, he was acquitted.
In 1722 Edward was again arrested on suspicion of being involved in a plot 'for dethroning the King and restoring the Pretender', and imprisoned for six months. Thomas himself was also arrested on suspicion of complicity and imprisoned in the Tower for a period. His true political position is unclear: his wife Maria (1692-1754), a Roman Catholic and Jacobite, had previously separated from him in fury at his having 'truckled to the Usurper'. However, she loyally exerted her influence upon the Earl of Carlisle to act as surety for his bail. When Thomas died in 1732 his widow soon married again, the Hon. Peregrine Widdrington (1692-1747), who had also been engaged in the Jacobite Rising.
Edward married on 26 November 1727, Mary (d. 1773), second daughter and co-heiress of Edward Blount, of Blagdon, co. Devon, and succeeded to the dukedom upon his brother's death in 1732. A 1733 account describes the reception of the Duke and Duchess at court 'with great distinction.' The Duchess was described as 'a sensible woman, and must act the man where talking is necessary,' finding it advisable to assure the Queen that 'though she and the Duke were of a different religion, they had as much duty and regard for the King as any of his subjects.' The Norfolks offered the Prince of Wales the use of Norfolk House, where in 1737 George III was born. Their apparent reversal of loyalties had an unexpected coda, for upon the Southern advance of the army of Prince Charles Edward Stuart in 1745, the Duke's magnificent, 500-room house at Worksopp, Nottinghamshire. The Duke died without issue at Norfolk House, London, on 20 September 1777, upon which the Earldom of Norwich became extinct.
An inventory of the vast quantities of silver and gold plate at Norfolk House, St. James's, left by the wife of Edward 9th Duke of Norfolk to remain in his family, was signed in the presence of James Drysdale, Butler at Norfolk House and Frederick Kandler, Silversmith in German Street and successor to Charles Kandler, maker of the present basket, who also executed commissions for the Norfolk family. The inventory listed some 20,600 ounces of silver and silver-gilt and just over 80 ounces of gold.
Charles Kandler, a German silversmith from Saxony, may have been related to Johann Joachim Kändler, the celebrated modeller of Meissen porcelain; early Meissen porcelain was based on silver forms, simple shapes with highly plastic and finely modelled decoration, and a similarity of style is clearly seen. Charles Kandler, attracted by the Hanoverian court of George II, moved to London, entered his first mark at Goldsmith's Hall on 29 August, 1727 and soon found himself in great favour with Thomas, 8th Duke of Norfolk, among others of note. Silver articles for the Norfolks include the present basket as well as a magnificent metal-gilt tabernacle made for Arundel Castle in 1730. Kandler's business was at that time 'at the sign of the mitre' first at St Martin's Lane and subsequently at German Street. In 1735 new marks were entered for Charles Frederick Kandler at German Street - originally thought to have been Charles's nephew or cousin, and subsequently generally accepted to be the same man. In 1741, however, a Frederick Kandler is listed as silversmith at this address: this is now thought to be the same person as Charles Frederick Kandler, who had entered the 1735 mark. Current scholarship explains that Charles Frederick took over the business from Charles in 1735, entering his own mark and taking over the first Charles' apprentices. He married Mary, niece of a Catholic priest, and died in 1778. His son, Charles II, born 1737, carried on the business of his father, married Martha Pratt in 1779, and died in 1807. The relationships between the Kandlers is discussed in detail in the Journal of the Silver Society, 8/495-499.