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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 10884.7

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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: la Belle Alliance'.

    La Belle Alliance is an inn which became the Emperor's headquarters for the Battle of Waterloo. It is situated at a crossroads on the main road leading north towards Brussels with fine views facing onto the area controlled by the Duke of Wellington. The inn is only ¾-mile from Wellington's own position beside an elm tree at the crossroads immediately north of La Belle Alliance

    In the evening after the battle the Duke of Wellington and Marshal Blücher met close to the inn, signifying the end of the fighting. During the meeting Marshal Blücher suggested that the battle should be remembered as La Belle Alliance, to commemorate the European coalition formed to defeat the French Emperor. Wellington instead recommended Waterloo, the village just north of the battlefield, where he had spent the previous night, commenting that it would not do to name the battle after the Emperor's command post.
    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: la Belle Alliance