Published: March 25, 2003
NORWICH, ENGLAND – Christopher Hartop has negotiated the sale of a highly important silver tureen to Norwich Castle Museum in England. The tureen, supplied to Sir Robert Walpole (1676-1745), England’s first prime minister, had been in a private American collection since the early 1960s. It is on display in the castle’s Silver Gallery.
The tureen is sterling silver and was made by George Wickes in London in 1738. Wickes was appointed silversmith to Frederick, Prince of Wales, in 1735 and his clients included the leading aristocratic figures of the day, including Sir Robert Walpole at Houghton Hall in Norfolk.
“The importance of this tureen lies in the fact that it is one of a very small group of Eighteenth Century silver objects for which complete documentation survives regarding its commissioning,” said Hartop. “Its design can be attributed to William Kent who worked for Walpole at Houghton.”
The tureen’s subsequent provenance is also well documented; it was inherited by Horace Walpole and was sold in the celebrated Strawberry Hill sale in the 1840s.
In 1964, the tureen was acquired by a collector in the United States, where it has since remained. It was purchased by Norfolk Museums Service with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Art Collections Fund, the Victoria and Albert Museum/Resource Grant Fund and the Friends of the Norwich Museums.
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