Earl FitzWalter Pair of Dinner Plates, 1725 Paul de Lamerie
Dinner Plate - Circular; Moulded Edge - London 1725 by Paul de Lamerie - 1770g combined weight; 28cm diameter - BK/5383c
We are proud to be offering a pair of George I period silver dinner plates from the famed Mildmay service made by Britain’s great ever silversmith, Paul de Lamerie .
This is one of four plates that we have in stock – see photo links below for two others in the set that we are offering as singletons.
These circular plates have a moulded border and are engraved with a coat-of-arms, crest and earl's coronet to the border. The arms displayed are those of Mildmay quartering Fairfax with Schomberg in pretence for Benjamin Mildmay, 19th Baron FitzWalter and 1st Earl FitzWalter.
The reverse side of these plates are engraved “No 4” and the scratch ounce weights “32:12” and "32:0".
The plates ooze the high quality one would expect from a piece of de Lamerie silver and are much heavier than typical dinner plates. The underside are stamped with a superb set of Britannia Standard London hallmarks (this was after the compulsory use of the purer silver was abandoned in 1720) and include first class examples of the highly cherished “LA” maker’s mark. These plates are in excellent condition with typical knife scratchings from use.
Paul de Lamerie (1688-1751) was apprenticed to Pierre Platel in 1703 and registered his first mark at Goldsmiths Hall in 1712. He is acknowledged to be Britain’s greatest ever silversmith and in addition to the royal households of King George I and George II, his other notable clients included Catherine the Great of Russia, and the first Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole. In 1717, he was dubbed “The King’s Silversmith”.
Benjamin Mildmay, Baron and later Earl FitzWalter (1672-1756) married the widowed Lady Frederica Susanna, daughter of the 3rd Duke of Schomberg in 1725.
The Essex Record Office hold Mildmay’s account details that show in 1725, he ordered ‘12 Dishes & 3 Dozen of plates’ from Paul de Lamerie. This is the service from which these plates emanated and were almost certainly made to commemorate his wedding - the engraved armorials enforcing this.
Benjamin Mildmay was a British politician serving as Commissioner of Excise between 1720 and 1728. He was sworn in to the Privy Council under Walpole’s government and appointed as First Lord of Trade between 1735 and 1737 and as Treasurer of the Household between 1737 and 1755.
He inherited his country home at Moulsham Hall in Essex on attaining the Barony of FitzWalter in 1728 and immediately commenced on the demolition of the original Tudor built house, replacing it with a grand neoclassical property in the Palladian style designed by Giacomo Leoni. His marriage to Frederica gave him access to Schomberg House, on Pall Mall, and therefore also to the heart of London society. In 1730, he was created Viscount Harwich, in the County of Essex, and Earl FitzWalter.
For further reading on Wikipedia please use this link: Benjamin Mildmay, Baron and later Earl FitzWalter
Twelve similar plates from the Mildmay service, also marked for 1725, are currently housed in the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts (acquisition number 1955.405).