A wine coaster design formed with openwork grapevines but without figures was first produced by Scott and Smith and retailed by Rundell, Bridge and Rundell around 1805. There are several variations in design, and those incorporating bacchanalian putti and panthers were produced from around 1810. Paul Storr began to produce this pattern for Rundell's around 1814.
The Royal armorials on the present lot indicate that these coasters may have formed part of a Royal or an ambassadorial service. Wine coasters, necessary for grand entertaining, were a common form of diplomatic plate. These coasters may have formed part of a service for the 2nd Earl of Lonsdale, who served as Commissioner of Indian Affairs from 1810-18 and a Lord of the Treasury from 1813-27 and were sold from the estate of his descendant, the 7th Earl of Lonsdale in 1975.
The pattern of the present example, with putti and panthers, is the most highly developed of the varied designs. Indeed, this pattern was selected by the Duke of Wellington for his ambassadorial service for his posting to the Court of Louis XVIII. Wellington's set of 12 coasters, also produced in 1814 by Paul Storr, are in the Wellington Museum, Apsley House (see N. M. Penzer, Paul Storr: The Last of the Goldsmiths, 1954, pl. LI, p. 180). The Royal Collection retains a set of 12 of the same design although with an egg-and-dart rim, mostly by Digby Scott of 1805. One is illustrated in Carlton House: The Past Glories of George IV's Palace, 1991, cat. no. 85, pp. 128-29. A set of eight by Paul Storr of 1815 from the Earl of Harewood's collection sold at Christie's, London, June 30, 1965, lot 104 and 105. Another set of six of identical pattern, but with vine foliage borders, produced by Philip Rundell in 1819-20, is illustrated in The Glory of the Goldsmith: Magnificent Gold and Silver from the Al-Tajir Collection, 1989, no. 146, p. 191. A further set is at Oriel College, Oxford.