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The Art of Monarchy

A collaboration with BBC Radio 4 to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Chelsea [Lawrence Street Factory]

Set of tureens c.1763

RCIN 57012

Bow Room, Buckingham Palace

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During the eighteenth century, porcelain was one of the most luxurious materials on the art market. Europe had only discovered the secret to porcelain manufacture in 1708, and a porcelain factory was considered essential to the glory of a state. This dinner and dessert service commissioned from the Chelsea factory, London, by King George III and Queen Charlotte, for the Queen’s brother, Adolphus Frederick IV, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in 1763/4. Many of the rococo shapes are evocative of contemporary gold and silverware designs, demonstrating the close competition between precious metals and porcelain on princely tables. The high value of such fine porcelain ranked it highly among diplomatic gifts.