This supper set and dessert plates were listed together in the Marquess of Hertford's manuscript inventories of 1828 and 1846, cited above.
A faint inscription is engraved on the reverse of one dessert plate recording five names and the date of July 2, 1827. The names are Cooke, Fitzgerald, Mitchell, and two others which are illegible. The date and names appear to record an event which took place at the Tsarkoé Selo Palace, St. Petersburg. In 1827, the 4th Marquess of Hertford was sent as an envoy extraordinary to Russia in order to present Nicholas I with the Order of the Garter. The party, including one Colonel Cooke, arrived on June 28th, and the ceremony took place on July 8th. P. Lacroix notes in Histoire de la Vie et du Règne de Nicholas Ier,, 1866, that the British delegation was made up of "des personnages les plus considérable de l'aristocratie anglais."
The supper equipage was a form of dining service for which Biennais was renowned. Apparently these services were used both in the bedroom and for travel: "pour la chambre et les voyages, pouvant se transporter facilement et se placer sur une voiture, les mets conservant leur chaleur pendant 3 heures." Napoleon ordered two supper services from Biennais, one for his sister, Pauline Borghese, and now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the gift of Audrey Love, and illustrated in A. Phillips and J. Sloane, Antiquity Revisited, English and French Silver-Gilt, from the Collection of Audrey Love, London, 1997, fig. 24) and one for Marie-Louise in 1810 that cost 8400 francs. The remaining five known supper sets include one owned by Eugène de Beauharnais (sold Sotheby, Parke-Bernet, New York, June 7-10, 1972, lot 542), one owned by Stéphanie de Bade and now in the collection of the Museum of Natural History, Bucharest, one in the Puiforcat Collection (sold David-Weill, Drouot, 4-5 May 1972, lot 10), the Pauline Borghese service cited above, and the present lot. (Anne Dion-Tenenbaum, L'orfèvre de Napoléon: Martin-Guillaume Biennais, Paris, 2003, pp. 34-35)