Plate, Worcester, soft paste porcelain, c.1762-67


Decorated in the Giles workshop, the centre of this Worcester plate is painted in colours with a coat of arms and a crest. The arms are those of Gavin, argent a sword in pale azure ensigned with a mullet gules surmounted by a saltire couped sable, with crest, a two-masted sailing ship flying the blue ensign. The impaled arms are those of Hearsey, gules a chief argent.

The shield within a distinctive cartouche edged with pink scales and with red and black mantling, is surmounted by the crest of a galleon. The border is of naturalistic flower sprigs, including winter jasmine and lilies of the valley, painted in dark purple. The silver-shaped rim is decorated with a gilt line.

David Gavin, a wealthy tailor of Langton House, made his fortune in Holland. He married first Christina Hearsey of Middleburg in 1751. She passed away in 1767, and he married secondly the Lady Elizabeth Maitland, daughter of James, the 7th Earl of Lauderdale, in 1770. Gavin died in 1773. This set must pre-date his second marriage, and most likely pre-dates Christina’s death.

Provenance: An English Private Collection.

Condition: The rim between 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock is restored, although the area of damage actually forms only a very narrow strip, extending into the plate no further than 0.5 cm at the widest point. There is no repainting to the decoration, only regilding and spray to the undecorated section. There are one or two tiny flakes to the gilt line rim, but the Giles painted decoration is in excellent order with only light wear to one or two sprigs. There are clay tears to the paste on the underside and also a fully-glazed nick to the footrim from manufacture.

Dimensions: Diameter 22.5 cm

In Search of James Giles, Gerald Coke (Micawber Publications, 1983).

James Giles, China and Glass Painter, Stephen Hanscombe (Stockspring Antiques Publications, 2005).

The Stephen Hanscombe Collection: James Giles and his Contemporary Decorators, (Stockspring Antiques Publications, 2014).

Worcester Porcelain 1751-1790: The Zorensky Collection, Simon Spero & John Sandon (Antique Collectors' Club, 1996).

Ref. The Stephen Hanscombe Collection contained a plate from this service, as did the Zorensky Collection.


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