Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hawke, 1st Baron Hawke K.B. (1705-1781)
Edward Hawke was the son of of Edward Hawke, a London barrister who descended from an old Cornish family. His father died when he was young, It was his uncle who helped his early naval career. During his early career he served off the West African coast and in the West Indies. During his time off Jamaica in the early 1730s he took command of his first ship and subsequently served in Barbados. It was as the captain of the Berwick during the battle of Toulon in 1744 that he distinguished himself. Later under the patronage of the King he was further promoted and was victorious in the Bay of Biscay during the Second Battle of Cape Finisterre in 1747. He defeated the French fleet at the Battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759 during the Seven Years' War, thus preventing an invasion of Britain. Hawke also sat in the House of Commons from 1747 to 1776. He was made First Lord of the Admiralty in 1766 and served until 1771. On his retirement in from active service in 1762 he lived at his estate at Sunbury.
Physically he was of tall stature with a dignified demeanour, whilst being unostentatious and affable. He was a religious man and an affectionate father. He made special provision in his will for the care of his daughter Catherine, who suffered from ill health. She was entrusted to the guardianship of the family's long serving housekeeper and family friend Sarah (Sally) Birt and her sister Mary, whom Lord Hawke had 'the utmost confidence in their prudence and affectionate regard' for his daughter. It was Catherine who was initially left the silver tea caddies together with many other chattels. These were to revert to her eldest brother's daughter if she died without issue. Although she was of poor health she lived to the age of 73 and was buried in St. Marylebone, Westminster. If she left a will it is unrecorded and it seem likely the caddies reverted to her nephew, who died in the same month as his aunt Catherine. The later history of the caddies is explained by the marriage of her great nephew's daughter to the 4th Earl of Rosse, whose grandson sold the caddies at Christie's in 1968.
The Hawke Lamerie Silver
It is of particular note that Lord Hawke refers to Paul de Lamerie in his will, almost 40 years after having made his silver purchases. It is also notable that an invoice from Paul de Lamerie survived in the papers of his descendents and was included in the sale of a pair of 'middle size waiters' at Christie's on 20 November 1968, the following lot being the present set of caddies. The surviving account was for silver purchased between July 1749 and February 1751. It listed a set of twelve knives, fork and spoons, the 'middle size waiters' and set of four candlesticks and a pair of branches, a pair of sauceboats, a pair of salt cellars and a pair of salt spoons.
In his will Lord Hawke gives a detailed listing of the silver he wishes to bequeath to his 'dear daughter the Honourable Catherine Hawke', which includes '...my black shagreen tea chest with silver canisters therein and a dozen gilt tea spoons and the tea tongs and strainers[,] a silver milk pot and ladle[,] my silver wrought coffee pot[,] silver tea kettle and lamp and waiter[,] a pair of silver fluted candlesticks in the form of a Corinthian pillar and also the two small square silver waiters[,] the small silver candlesticks and snuffer pan with a pair of silver salts and spoons which said several pieces of plate last mentioned were made by Paul Lemery[sic.] Silversmith and were part of my bachelors plate'. He also leaves her the furniture and furnishings of his late wife's dressing room at their house at Swaythling near Southampton. He lists them in extraordinary detail. He similarly bequeaths her the 'new harpsichord which I bought of Kirkman...the pianoforte which I bought of him and the new Guittar[sic.], jewellery which had belonged to his wife and her 'bloodstone etwee [sic.]'. She was also to receive 'my square ingraved [sic] silver waiters and the case holding twelve silver handled knives[,]which are in common use in my family and my plain soup ladle and the dozenspoons with the scallop shell worked on the back of them and the plain old large waiter and the small square silver candlesticks and my little flat silver candlestick and the little silver tea table which I lately purchased'.
The case for the caddies, which has been later re-veneered in walnut, is very similar in form to that which encloses a set of caddies by de Lamerie, 1741, sold Christie's London 16 July 1970, lot 97 and a further set from the Hearst collection illustrated in P. A. S. Phillips, Paul de Lamerie, Citizen and Goldsmith of London, London, 1935, p. CXXVII.