The largest known collection of Mildmay service plates in its original form by internationally renowned Silversmith Paul de Lamerie (1688–1751) are to be offered in the sale of Silver & Objects of Vertu including Gold Boxes at Chiswick Auctions in London later this month.
The previously unrecorded set of plates formed part of a larger 18th-century service made for Benjamin Mildmay, 1st Earl Fitzwalter. Earl Fitzwalter was married to the daughter of the Duke of Stromberg and in 1737 was appointed Treasurer of the Household.
The service was first made in 1725, extended in 1737, and most likely broken up during the 19th century. Not seen for the past 100 years, these plates are the latest examples of various pieces from the service to resurface.
Described by the Victoria & Albert Museum as ‘the greatest silversmith working in England in the 18th century’, de Lamerie was a French Protestant who escaped as a child with his parents to London, fleeing persecution in France.
Working in the English Rococo style, De Lamerie’s success resided in his remarkable powers of invention and creation. Furthermore, he was an astute businessman, retailing exceptional silverware from his workshop and approaching only the top suppliers in the trade. By 1717, he was referred to as ‘the King’s Silversmith.’
Until now, nearly every example from the Mildmay service has a moulded edge rim. These plates are a rare example of an early use of gadrooned edge on dinnerware.
Another set of twelve plates from the Mildmay service are in the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Massachusetts.
The sale takes place on October 31.