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Chamberlain & Co.: Worcester (c. 1786-1852)

Battle of Waterloo commemorative plate 1816

3.2 x 21.5 x 21.5 cm (whole object) | RCIN 10884.1

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  • One of a set of circular porcelain plates.  The centre painted with a view of the battlefield of Waterloo, green outer border with gilt lines.  Gilt title on a white ground below the view '18 June 1815: entrance to the Farm of La Haye Sainte and the Gate Shattered with musketry'. 

    La Haye Sainte is a complex of farm buildings including a kitchen garden, stables and a farmhouse, all surrounded by a high wall, and an orchard and pasture to the south. The farm played a crucial strategic role in the battle as it it stood directly north of Napoleon's headquarters at La Belle Alliance and borders the north-south road leading directly to the Grand Place in Brussels - his ultimate goal.

    The Duke of Wellington had ordered the farm be fortified by The King's German Legion, a unit raised in Hanover and loyal to the shared British Crown; the unit had fought with the Duke in the Peninsular Wars. All through the day the farm was under siege with the French, under Marshal Ney, finally gaining control in the early evening. The road was now clear enabling the Imperial Guard to attack the the infantry on The Duke's forward slope of the northern ridge of the battlefield - the Unbeaten took on the Unbeatable 'on s’engage, et alors on voit’. This final attack was beaten back with the arrival of Prussian troops from the east under General von Blücher. During the French retreat the farm was recaptured by the Allies.
    Provenance

    In 1783, Robert Chamberlain (c.1736–98), head of the decorating department for Dr. John Wall at Warmstry House, left the company to start his own porcelain decorating business in King Street, Worcester.

    The factory quickly established a reputation for the production of finely painted porcelain. Customers would choose the decoration for individual ‘cabinet’ pieces and views of country houses and figure subjects taken from prints of well-known paintings were fashionable. The factory built up a large library of source material for artists to work from; scenes from Shakespeare’s plays were copied from engravings published by John Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery in Pall Mall.

    Soon after the allied victory at Waterloo the battlefield became a focus for tourists and mementoes commemorating the battle became very popular of which these plates, showing areas where significant events took place on 18 June 1815, are an example. These views are taken from contemporary engravings published in 1816.

    The Prince Regent awarded Chamberlain a Royal Warrant in 1807. Porcelain was sold at his shop at 33 Worcester High Street and through china dealers in other large towns. In 1813 Chamberlain opened a London showroom at 63 Piccadilly, moving to 155 New Bond Street in 1816. These plates are marked with the New Bond Street address.  Ths plate is part of an order 'October 31st ... 1816 [part of an order for] His RH the Prince Regent. a set of '12 Plates, 8in. (views of Waterloo) – 73s. 6d. £44 2s 0d'.







  • Measurements

    3.2 x 21.5 x 21.5 cm (whole object)

  • Alternative title(s)

    18 June 1815: entrance to the Farm of La Haye Sainte and the Gate Shattered with musketry