WILLIAM, 4TH EARL OF DEVONSHIRE (1640-1707)
William Cavendish was one of the leaders of the Whig party and played an important part in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 which resulted in the flight of King James II. He is celebrated today as the builder of Chatsworth in Derbyshire, one of the most magnificent stately homes in the country. Although a house had existed on the site since the 16th century, when his ancestress Bess of Hardwick (c.1527-1608) and her husband Sir William Cavendish (1505-57) bought the manor of Chatsworth and began building and alterations, it was the 4th Earl who made the most extensive alterations. He took down the South Front and built new family rooms and a magnificent suite of State Apartments intended for the reception of a Royal Visit from King William and Queen Mary; he added the East Front, rebuilt the West Front (possibly to his own design) and the North Front, added the Painted Hall and a long gallery, and embarked upon a series of plans for formal gardens including the Cascade which still exists.
Bishop Burnet, writing in 1700, commented that the 4th Earl '...has been the finest and handsomest gentleman of his time; loves the ladies and plays; keeps a noble house and equipage; is tall, well made, and of a princely behaviour; of nice honour in everything but the paying of his tradesmen.'
He married in 1662, Mary, second daughter of James, 1st Duke of Ormonde, and was created Duke of Devonshire in 1694 for his part in bringing William of Orange to the throne. The presence of the earl's coronet above the arms in the present salvers therefore suggests that they were commissioned between 1684 and 1694. He died in 1707.
These salvers were possibly engraved by John Rollos. For a discussion of the Rollos family as plateworkers and engravers, see C.C. Oman, English Engraved Silver, 1978, pp. 85-86.