The double-lipped sauceboat appears to have been introduced from France in about 1717, the first recorded English pair being those made by James Fraillon, in that year, (sold Christie’s, 12 October 1955, lot 140). Whether made by the emigrée Hugenot goldsmiths or not they invariably show a restrained Baroque influence. Within ten years the single-lipped and handled variety had evolved, however, as the present examples show, the former style was still popular well into the reign of George II.
Double-lipped sauceboats by Paul de Lamerie are extremely rare. A pair of 1717 or 1719, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, (the gift of D. Widener and Eleanor W. Dixon) were exhibited at Goldsmiths’ Hall, Paul de Lamerie, The Work of England’s Master Silversmith (1688-1751), 1990, no. 13. A further pair of 1724 was sold, Sotheby’s, 29 April 1976, lot 176.
John Carmichael, 3rd Earl of Hyndford (1701-1767)
John Carmichael, 3rd Earl of Hyndford was the son of James, 2nd Earl of Hyndford and Lady Elizabeth Maitland, only daughter of John, 5th Earl of Lauderdale. He succeeded to his father’s estates on 16 August 1737 and was chosen a representative peer in 1738 and on four subsequent occasions. Following the invasion of Silesia by the new King of Prussia, Frederick II, Hyndford was selected by King George II of England to act as envoy extraordinaire and plenipotentiary to mediate between Frederick and Queen Maria Theresa of Austria. A treaty, which owed much to Hyndford’s patience and persistence, was eventually signed at Breslau on 11 June, 1742.
In 1744 he was sent on a special mission to Russia where his work culminated in the Treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle. He eventually left Moscow in 1749 and was subsequently sworn a privy councillor and appointed one of the lords of the bedchamber. In 1752 he was sent as ambassador to Vienna where he remained till 1764. He died in 1767. He married first, in 1732, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Admiral Cloudesley Shovell and widow of the first Lord Romney and secondly, in 1756, Jean, daughter of Benjamin Vigor. An only son from the first marriage died in infancy and the earldom passed to his cousin but became extinct in 1817.
According to the Gentleman’s Magazine of June 1742, ‘his Prussian Majesty, at a grand Entertainment, which he gave to all his general Officers on the Conclusion of the Treaty [of Breslau]... highly applauded the conduct of the Earl of Hyndford in this Negotiation’. For his services, the Earl of Hyndford was invested with the insignia of a Knight of the Thistle. The investiture was carried out by the King of Prussia on August 29th at the request of George II and followed very specific instructions laid down by the English monarch as to how it was to be performed.
In addition, according to an account of Frederick’s life written in German in 1758, there was a rumour that ‘the Monarch had given Lord Hindford [sic] a valuable silver service for his exceptional merits in the whole Silesian Affair after his return from Breslau, as well as the addition of the Silesian Eagle and motto pro bono merito, to his coat-of-arms for him and his descendents. But [the author adds] to date I cannot confirm this’ (Heldengeschicte, Staats und Lebensgeschichte Friedrichs des Andern, Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1758, vol.2, p.762).
The tradition that Frederick had given Hyndford a silver service was repeated, a century later, by Thomas Carlyle in his biography of Frederick the Great and also in the Dictionary of National Biography, published in 1908. The appearance of a silver basket marked for Christian Lieberkühn of Berlin (see Christie’s, London, 13 June 2001, lot 213) as well as a previously unpublished eight page bill from Lieberkühn lists both charges to, and payments by, the Earl of Hyndford perhaps gives some credence to this theory. The inventory is very extensive, listing over 50 differing types of object, often in sets, which were purchased for a total of nearly 12,500 thalers.
Surviving pieces from the collection of the Earls of Hydford include the Lieberkühn basket, clearly copied from an English prototype, this pair of sauceboats, as well as a set of four Régence-style candlesticks by Lamerie, hallmarked for 1733 (illustrated in V. Brett, The Sotheby’s Directory of Silver, London, 1986, p.174, no.704). The subsequent history of the Hyndford silver is complicated. In 1817, when the earldom became extinct, property passed to various collateral branches including the Carmichael-Anstruther, Gibson-Carmichael and the Nisbet families.