Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773-1843)
Childhood asthma prevented the Prince entering the army or navy. Unlike his brothers he spent many years abroad and studied at Göttingen University from 1786. He enraged his father with his illicit marriage to Lady Augusta Murray (1768-1830) whom he had met during his travels in Italy. Despite two ceremonies being conducted, one in Rome in April 1793 and the second on the couple's return to London in December, the marriage was annulled. They continued to live as husband and wife until 1801. His advocacy of liberal measures brought him into conflict with his father and later, his brother, George IV. He supported Catholic emancipation, the abolition of slavery and opposed discriminatory legislation against Jews and Non-Conformists. As a result, he was the only Royal Duke excluded from any form of lucrative employment, and was strictly limited to his parliamentary allowance.
He had a great interest in the arts and sciences and served as president of both the Society of Arts and the Royal Society. He was a noted collector and bibliophile, his library containing some fifty thousand volumes. On his death in 1843 his executors sold his collections at auction to settle his considerable debts. The sale of his silver, held at Christie's over four days comprised 695 lots and nearly forty thousand ounces of plate, including the present lot and the previous lot in this catalogue.