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PAUL STORR (1771-1844)

Dessert stand (part of the Grand Service)

hallmarks 1813-18

RCIN 50844

A set of four silver-gilt dessert stands, each comprising a pierced dish with palmette border, supported in a pineapple leaf bracket above six scroll branches with vine leaf dishes. The stem is cast in the form of an amphora, flat chased with angels and scrolling foliage, on a spirally fluted drum, surrounded by cast figures of Bacchus and two dancing maenads. On a circular base with scroll feet and acanthus leaves.

These stands were described in the Rundells' invoice of 1811 as '4 very superb and elegant Ornaments for the Desert consisting of Groups of figures to receive Pine apples', although at that date they were not completed. The various elements were probably assembled over the next few years - they were finally delivered to Carlton House in 1817, with the branches arriving two years later. It is likely that the figures were designed by Flaxman. The final bill for the dessert stands has not been traced but later inventories state that they cost £1538 11s 8d.

The Grand Service is the magnificent dining service of silver gilt commissioned by George IV, when Prince of Wales, from the Royal Goldsmiths Rundell, Bridge & Rundell. The initial commission was made in 1806 and the first delivery took place in 1811. Throughout the Regency (1811-20) and during George IV's reign (1820-30) he continued to add to the service with both dining plate and pieces for display on the buffet.

As a whole, the Grand Service comprises some 4,000 pieces and covers a vast range of objects and styles.  The initial delivery included works in both white silver and silver gilt, but gradually the service was gilded throughout. This may have been a response to public comments that the silver plate seemed poor and cold by comparison with the gilded plate, but it was also in direct rivalry to the gilded collections of Napoleon I. Moreover, by gilding the entire service, it was provided with a homogeneity of appearance otherwise lacking in its variety of styles.

The Service is so large and so magnificent that it has never been replaced. It remains in use by the monarchy to this day, and is placed on the table for State Banquets at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace and for other ceremonial events.

    The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.