11 June 2003
A set of twelve George III silver dinner-plates from the Martinque Service
Maker's mark R*M, probably for Robert Makepiece, London, 1795
Each circular, with gadrooned border, engraved to one side with a coat-of-arms, to the other with a presentation inscription within a laurel wreath, marked on reverse, each also engraved with number and scratchweight: 'No 13 - 18"2'; 'No 14 - 18"1'; 'No 15 - 18"17'; 'No 16 18-13'; 'No 17 - 18"8'; 'No 18 - 18"15'; 'No 19 - 18"5'; 'No 20 - 18"12'; 'No 21 - 18"19'; 'No 22 - 18"8'; 'No 23 - 18"6'; 'No 24 - 18"19'
10in. (25.5cm.) diam.
The arms are those of Charles, 1st Baron Grey (1729-1807). Charles Grey was the 4th but only surviving son of Sir Henry Grey 1st Bt. (1691-1749) on the latter's death. He therefore inherited his father's baronetcy and the estate of Howick, co. Northumberland. He had a distinguished career in the army and served as commanding officer during the First American War. Appointed a Major General in 1777, he became a Lieutenant General in 1782 and a General in 1796. He was created Baron Grey of Howick in 1801 and was later elevated to Viscount Howick and Earl Grey in 1806.
The inscription on the dinner-plates, Donné par la MARTINIQUE relate to the expedition which Grey and John Jervis, later Admiral and 1st Earl St. Vincent led against the French in the West Indies from 1793. By March 1794 they had taken Martinique and by the end of April St. Lucia, the Saints and Guadeloupe had come under British control. Family tradition, supported by these facts, records that the dinner service was given to Lord Grey by the grateful landowners of Martinique. (12)
Charles, 1st Earl Grey (1829-1807) and then by descent to
Lady Howick of Glendale; Christie's London, 21 November 1973, lot 34 (£2,000 to Lumley)
Thomas Lumley Ltd.
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