The scene on the salver is after the painting of the capture of the Foudroyant by HMS Monmouth painted by Francis Swaine (circa 1715-1782), which is now in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. The salver commemorates a naval engagement between HMS Monmouth and the French 80 gun flagship Foudroyant that took place on 28 February 1758. The Foudroyant was on her way to Cartagena to relieve Commodore de la Clue when she was intercepted by HMS Monmouth, Hampton Court and Swiftsure. The action began at around 8.00pm and by midnight the Foudroyant was all but a spent force. She was entered into service in the Royal Navy and in May of the same year John Jervis joined the ship as a lieutenant.
John Jervis, 1st Earl St Vincent (1735-1823) was an admiral of distinction chiefly remembered for his defeat of the Spanish Fleet of Cape St Vincent in 1797. He had gone against his parents' wishes when he joined the Navy in 1748. Personal connections led to an introduction to the Hon. George Townshend, Commander-in-Chief of the Jamaica stations, which led to him entering the navy as an able seaman on HMS Gloucester in 1749. He later commanded the Foudroyant, mentioned above, in 1775. His career in the navy led to numerous improvements in conditions and practices and at the coronation of George IV he was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet, being sent the baton of office by the King himself.
The later arms of his nephew, John Jervis Carnegie (1807-1892), son of his niece, Mary, Countess of Northesk (d.1836) suggest that the salver was a gift to his namesake. Both Mary and her third son John Jervis are beneficiaries in the Earl's will, proved in London on 12 April 1823 (Public Records Office Document PROB 11/1669).