The present ice-pails are from what was a dinner and dessert service of some 177 pieces. Based on designs conceived for an earlier service made circa 1808-1809 for Italy and referred to in the factory records as the Service d'Italie, this second service entered the Magasin de Vente on 20 May 1812.
It remained there until Louis XVIII's return from exile in England during the reign of Napoleon I. After the addition of 72 more dessert plates (at a higher cost than the original compliment of the same number), the service was 'delivered by order of the King to H.R.H the Duke of Kent' on 18 October 1816, presumeably in recognition of the support and hospitality extended the king during his stay in England (MNS, Archives, Registre, Vbb 5, Folio II).
Described as Service fond vert, riche dorure, bouquet de fleurs, the following pieces were delivered:
Entre Cost in francs
30 assiettes potage @ 45 - 1,350
8 bateau navette @ 45 - 360
4 saladiers @ 80 - 320
4 melonnires @ 65 - 260
18 pots jus @ 15 - 270
72 assiettes plates @ 50 - 3,600 (these c.1812)
72 idem @ 60 - 4,320 (these c.1816)
4 jattes fruits @110 - 440
2 sucriers et plateaux @110 - 220
2 idem @140 - 280
2 glaciers (the present lot) @300 - 600
2 corbeilles jasmin @140 - 280
4 corbeilles basses @ 60 - 240
8 compotiers bourrelet @ 50 - 400
8 compotiers coupe @ 55 - 440
On 8 November, 1945, Christie's London sold anonymously on behalf of the 1st Marquess of Carisbrooke 155 pieces from the original service of 249. These had descended from his great-grandfather, the fourth son of King George III, to the duke's daughter, Her Majesty Queen Victoria (1819-1901). Queen Victoria gave them to her youngest child, Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice (1857-1944), later Princess Henry of Battenberg. She, in turn, gave them to her son (born 1886) who sold them after World War II.
Christie's sold 119 of these pieces again in Monaco, 7 December 1985, lot 32. A part of this group came up for sale at Sotheby's, New York, 18 May 1996 as lots 240, 241, 242. In addition, seven plates have been sold at Sotheby's, London, 16 July 1991, lot 64 and five more at Ader Tajan, Paris, 18 November 1992, lot 103.
It would seem that the Royal Family split the service between siblings at some point, probably during the reign of Victoria. At this point, the present ice-pails were separated from that part of the service which descended to the 1st Marquess of Carisbrooke.
The incised marks are those of Charles Thévenot fils aïné, recorded as a repareur garnisseur 1787-1826 (tt) and of Charles-Louis Descoins fils aïné, recorded as a tourneur 1776-1778 and again 1780-1828 (dc).