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Flight, Barr & Barr: Worcester (1813-40)

A dessert service, known as the Coronation Service 1830-33

Soft paste porcelain | RCIN 5000039

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  • A porcelain dessert service comprising plates, ice pails, urns and low comports, known as the Coronation Service. The soft paste porcelain plates with a lobed gilt gadrooned rim; dark blue border with six shaped pale-yellow reserves painted with the insignia of British Orders (St George and the Dragon for the Order of the Garter, the Order of the Thistle and St Patrick, Jewels of the Bath, St Michael and Guelphic Order), surrounded by white jewelled beads around smaller reserves and white harebells and foliate scrolls about larger reserves; white jewelled beads and gilt foliate C-scrolls about central white circular reserve which is elaborately painted with the royal coat of arms with supporters and national emblems. 

    William IV was a patron of the Worcester porcelain factories for more than forty years. In 1789 he commissioned from the Flight factory a dessert service with a ribboned border inspired by S?vres patterns, and decorated in honour of his elevation to the dukedom of Clarence and St Andrews; a small number of pieces from that service remain in the Royal Collection. In the following year he ordered from the same factory a large dinner service decorated with figures of Hope and Patience, which became known as the 'Hope' Service. (A substantial portion of the 'Hope' Service was sold at Christie's, London, 24 February 1997.)

    It was the successor of the original Flight firm at Worcester - now under the ownership of Joseph Flight and the brothers Martin and George Barr - that received the order for this grand dessert service, commissioned at the time of William IV's coronation in 1831. The service was delivered in 1833. The pieces are decorated with a very rich underglaze blue ground, with six reserves painted with the insignia of the Orders of the Garter, Thistle, St Patrick, Bath, St Michael and St George; and of the Guelphic Order, surrounding the royal arms, the work of the painter John Bly. The shapes employed owed much to those of classical antiquity. The ice pail is closely based on the Warwick Vase, discovered in Rome in 1770 (Glasgow, Burrell Collection). The raised gilding and 'jewelled' decoration were no doubt inspired by Vincennes and S?vres porcelain, although the techniques were quite different. At the French factories, gilding was built up in successive layers to achieve a degree of relief, whereas in this case a single layer of gold was applied over raised slip decoration. The jewelling was the work of Ishmael Sherwin. Among English manufacturers, the Barr brothers alone seem to have followed S?vres in restricting the employment of women to the burnishing of gold. Pieces from this service are regularly used to ornament the table for the annual luncheon of the Knights and Ladies of the Garter at Windsor.

    Now comprising 75 dessert plates, 4 ice pails, covers and liners, 4 tureens, 5 dessert stands, 4 dessert dishes, 3 comports, 5 rectangular dessert dishes, 4 oval dessert dishes.

    Catalogue entry from 'Royal Treasures, A Golden Jubilee Celebration', London 2002

    Measurements: Dessert plate 2.6 x 25.6, ice pail, cover and liner 44.0 x 37.0 x 28.8, tureen 29.8 x 20.2 x 18.6, dessert stand 34.1 x 30.5 x 30.5, dessert dish 10.2 x 35.6 x 32.0, comport 10.0 x 28.5 x 31.5, rectangular dessert dish 9.7 x 39.0 x 28.2, oval dessert dish 10.0 x 40.5 x 30.0 cm

    A dessert service, known as the Coronation Service, commissioned by William IV, 1830, first used at a banquet given for the Duc d'Orleans, 10 May 1833.

  • Medium and techniques

    Soft paste porcelain

  • Place of Production