Paul Storr. The Duke of Hamilton’s silver Second Course Dish whilst Ambassador in Russia.
A George III silver Second Course Plate from the Duke of Hamilton’s Russian Ambassadorial Service, London 1806.
The huge ambassadorial dinner service supplied by Rundell Bridge through the Jewel Office to the Duke in 1806 amounted to 278 pieces and weighed 9513 ounces. Each of the pieces was engraved with the Royal Arms as well as those of the Duke. In addition to that service, the Duke acquired additional pieces from Rundell Bridge which were engraved with the Ducal arms but not the Royal arms. The ambassadorial service was sold in its entirety by Christie’s in November 1919 as part of the ‘Duke of Hamilton’ sale. Lot 31 in that sale comprised:
Four soup-tureens, covers and stands
An oval venison-dish – 26″ long
Fourteen oval dishes – 12″ to 15″ diameter
Five Circular Covers
Four fish-strainers – 14″ to 18″ long
Six Sauce Tureens, covers and liners
One hundred and forty-four dinner plates
Eight circular plated dish-covers with silver handles
Twenty-four oval ditto
Ten oval plated dish heaters
Four oblong ditto entrée-dish heaters
Four circular ditto
Weighing a total of 9527 ounces and housed in five oak plate-chests.
Some of the additional pieces ordered by the Duke can be identified in the same 1919 auction. Lot 3 comprised fourteen skewers with shell tops, 1806; lot 7 a pair of chamber-candlesticks and extinguishers, with gadroon, shell and foliage borders, 1806; lot 14 a shaped plain mug 1806 weighing 13 ozs. 10 dwt.; lot 32 an oblong bread-basket, with gadroon, shell and foliage borders, weighing 73 ozs. 15 dwt., by Storr, 1806; lot 33 six candelabra, chased with scale-pattern trellis-work, shell and foliage, and supporting branches for four lights each, 25″ high, weighing 1127 ozs. 15dwt, by Storr 1810; lot 71 six ice-pails and liners, partly fluted, and chased with s frieze of shell ornament, with gadroon and shell borders, lion’s-mask handles, and shell feet, weighing 948 ozs., by Storr 1807.
Other ‘added’ pieces have appeared at auction since 1919: notably a set of four cruets [two large and two small] sold at Sotheby’s London, 20th June 1988, lot 216, now in the Gans Collection [VMFA]; two entrée dishes now in the Huntington Collection, San Marino, California; and a pair of triangular covered dishes sold at Christie’s New York on 16 December 2005. A small waiter by Storr, 1806, with the Duke’s arms sold at Rago Auctioneers, [05/12/2014, lot 28]. The Duke had added stands to the soup tureens, two of which sold again recently at Christie’s New York [on 22 May 2009].
A large part of the service was acquired for and is in use in the White House – four candelabra from the set of six, 104 of the plates and two circular dishes with covers. However, a few other pieces from the ambassadorial service supplied by the Jewel Office have appeared at auction – a single Sauce Tureen sold at Bonhams Los Angeles [lot 322, 26th June 2018]; a second course dish of 12″ diameter sold at Christie’s London [lot 357, 12th June 2010]; a single mazarine sold at Christie’s London [lot 756, 27/28th November 2012].
Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton and Brandon [1767-1854]. Apparently propsed marriage to Countess Polocka whilst in St. Petersburg but actually married Susan, the second daughter of William Beckford in 1810 after his return to England.
Referring to the quality of the services made in Paul Storr’s workshop for Rundell Bridge, Christopher Hartop described the characteristic ‘meticulously delineated gadrooned rims interspersed with leaves.’ [‘Art in Industry: the Silver of Paul Storr’]. This second course dish, in common with the whole of the Hamilton service, has an exceptionally bold and strongly defined border.
Diameter – 32.50 cm.; Weight – 1457 gms.