It would appear that this unsual shell dish was part of a large commission which Lord Clarendon placed with the silversmith Paul Crespin (Lots 701-704). Born in London in 1694, Paul Crespin was a member of a leading Huguenot family. Although not as prolific as some of his contemporaries, such as Paul de Lamerie, his work was of a very high standard and in a number of instances of inspired quality. A. G. Grimwade in London Goldsmiths 1697-1837, Their Marks and Lives, London, 1982, p.479, describes his work as 'of a consistently high standard, worthily rivalling Lamerie.', with whom he is known to have had a strong working relationship though no formal partnership. A large quantity of the ambassadorial plate made for the 4th Earl of Chesterfield was executed in Lamerie's workshop to Crespin's designs, such as the celebrated Chesterfield wine-coolers of 1737, exhibited at the Goldsmiths' Hall, London, Paul de Lamerie, exhibition catalogue, 1990, no. 49. Crespin counted amongst his clients some of the most important patrons of the day, including the Duke of Malborough, the Duke of Devonshire and the Duke of Portland. He also executed a magnificent silver-gilt centrepiece for Frederick, Prince of Wales in 1741, which remains in the Royal Collection and is illustrated in A. G. Grimwade, Rococo Silver 1727-1765, London, 1974, no. 48. It is not surpising to find Crespin as the maker of so much of the Clarendon plate. It is possible that he had received plate from the Royal Jewel-House by Crespin for one of his many embassies.