Magnificent shagreen case George II silver armorial tea caddy set London 1749
This magnificent shagreen cased armorial and crested George II silver tea caddy set was made in London in 1749 by quality silversmith Samuel Taylor, the box measures 12 inches long by 7.5 inches tall and is approx 5 inches at it’s deepest, it has silver mounts and ball and claw feet, the escutcheon is marked with the lion passant and makers mark whilst the rest are unmarked. Inside the box is red velvet lined and silver piped – worn but mostly there and it contains 2 pear shaped caddies measuring approx 6 inches tall by approx 3 inches at their widest, they have a crest to one side and a coat of arms to the other and also bear the crest to the pull off tops, the pear shaped covered sugar bowl measures just over 6 inches tall by approx 4 inches at it’s widest and bears the matching crest to one side and has a coat of arms to the other and again has the crest to the lid. The chased florid decoration on this set is superb and still very sharp with no signs of wear, all pieces are fully hallmarked under the bases, a fine boxed set of caddies in excellent condition weighing 28.95 ounces or 900 grams.
The Marital Arms of Clarke and Stephens
The armorial bearings as engraved upon this George II Boxed Set of English Sterling Silver Tea Caddies by Samuel Taylor hallmarked London 1749 are those of the family of Clarke impaling Stephens. These armorial bearings denote the marshalling of a marital coat showing on the dexter (the heraldic right on the left as you view the piece) the arms of the husband and on the sinister (the heraldic left on the right as you view it) the arms of the wife. They may be blazoned as follows:
(on the dexter) Azure three escallops or between two flaunches ermine (for Clarke)
(on the sinister) Per chevron azure and argent in chief two falcons volant or1 (for Stephens)
1 Could otherwise be blazoned as ‘two falcons volant proper’.
Crest: In a gem ring or set with a diamond sable2 a pheon argent (for Clarke)
These armorial bearings undoubtedly commemorate the marriage of an unidentified gentleman of the family of Clarke, possibly of the branch that was resident at Somershall in the County of Derbyshire or a descendant thereof to an unidentified daughter of the family of Stephens. Sadly, there is a dearth of available genealogical information that would ordinarily assist in identifying the couple whose arms these are. There are several families of the name of Stephens who are stated to have borne the arms as blazoned above, notably in the Counties of Cornwall, Gloucestershire and Shropshire, perhaps the wife in this case was a daughter of one of these families.
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