Part of an extensive service of plate commissioned by the 12th Earl of Pembroke from Paul Storr between 1827 and 1837, the most impressive piece of which is perhaps the fantastical candelabrum surmounted by the Pembroke gryphon (which on the present sauceboats surmounts the handles), over 40 inches high made for the Earl in the same year as the present lot and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (bequest of Robert L. Joseph, 1959).
Robert Henry Herbert, 12th Earl of Pembroke and 9th Earl of Montgomery, was born in 1791. He married in 1814 in the Butera Palace, Palermo, Ottavia Spinelli, newly widowed wife of the Prince of Butera and daughter of the Duke of Laurino. Before the death of the Prince, the young Lord Herbert had been the Princess's cavaliere servente. His father attemped to have the marriage dissolve without success but succeeded in persuading the Sicilian authorites to separate the parties. Accordingly Lord Herbert was imprisoned in a fortress and his wife in a convent. Herbert managed to escape, however, to Genoa and returned to England where his father persuaded him to abandon the Princess. A suite for restitution of conjugal rights was brought by her in the English courts in 1819 and she was awarded 800 p.a., which it is said was later increased to 5,000, but Lord Herbert and the Princess never came together again. [Phillimore, Cases in Ecclesiastical Courts, vol. III, pp. 58-66]
Herbert succeeded on the death of his father in 1827 and took his seat in the House of Lords in 1883. In 1837 he was living in Paris, where Lord Malmesbury wrote of him, "Lord Pembroke lives in great state in Paris, and is as famous for his cook as for his horses. He is a very handsome man." [Malmesbury, Memoirs of an ex-Minister, vol. I, p. 78]
Lord Pembroke died in Paris in 1862 at the age of seventy and was buried in Pere-la-Chaise [Gentlemen's Magazine, 1862, pt I, p. 78-; Complete Peerage]