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Philip Rundell (1746-1827)

Dessert stand (part of The Grand Service) hallmarks 1813-20

RCIN 51980

A set of four silver-gilt dessert stands, each with a central bowl cast on the underside with acanthus leaves, above four scroll branches terminating in leaf-shaped bowls; the stem is cast and chased with acanthus and berried laurel, and is surrounded by groups of putti representing the Seasons, on a circular base cast with fruit and flowers with a reeded, cross-tied rim; on acanthus and acorn-like feet.

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.