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Lot 4


makers mark of Paul de Lamerie, London 1724, of typical form with an indented broad rim engraved with the armorial of James Medlycott (1658-1731) enclosed by a shell and leafy-scroll mantling, the outer diaper and strapwork border with alternating panels of classical busts in acanthus-scroll frames alternating with scallop-shells, the inner border with a repeating band of swirls, the base with a scratch weight “31:19”, 33cm wide (c.30 tr. ozs)

Estimate: £15,000 - £25,000
Bidding ended. Lot is unsold.

Provenance: James Medlycott (1658-1731) of Ven House, Milborne Port, Somerset
Thomas Medlycott, son of the above
Thomas Hutchings, nephew of the above
Sir William Coles Medlycott (1767-1835), son of the above
Sir William Medlycott (1806-1882)
Sir William Medlycott (1831-1887)
Sir Edward Medlycott (1832-1902)
Sir Mervyn Medlycott (1837-1908)
Sir Hubert Medlycott (1841-1920)
Sir Christopher Medlycott (1907-1986)
Sir Mervyn Medlycott (1947-2021)
and thence by descent.

Note: The distinctive border engraving on the present bowl may be compared to the salver commissioned by Sit Robert Walpole to commemorate his term as Chancellor of the Exchequer and are now in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The design of that salver, and the engraving itself, is attributed to William Hogarth (1697-1764).

It is fitting that Medlycott employed the leading silversmith of his generation for his personal shaving bowl. Having made a fortune as a lawyer and Master in Chancery, Medlycott purchased a seat in Parliament and set about building one of the most beautiful late Baroque houses in the kingdom, Ven House at Milborne Port. The house remained in the Medlycott family until the mid-20th century when many of the contents were transferred to the Medlycott’s other seat at Sandford Orcas Manor.

Paul de Lamerie

Paul de Lamerie’s parents were Huguenots, who probably left France for religious reasons in the early 1680’s. After serving as an apprentice to a London goldsmith, Pierre Platel, de Lamerie registered his mark and established his own workshop in 1712. The wide range of styles represented during de Lamerie’s 40 year career could not have been made, or even designed, by one individual, but there are some consistent features in quality and “trademarks”, such as the fact that his workshop continued to use the higher Britannia standard of silver alloy for some 12 years after it ceased to be compulsory. He supplied clients as far afield as Russia and America, but for the most part his clients at home were not members of the aristocratic elite. Although he was appointed Royal Goldsmith in 1716, his mark does not appear on any Royal plate. Indeed, most of his clients were prosperous landowners and members of the Whig ascendency, much like James Medlycott. After his death in 1751, the obituary which appeared in the “London Evening Post” spoke of de Lamerie as “particularly famous in making fine ornamental Plate, and .... very instrumental in bringing that Branch of the Trade to the Perfection it is now in”.

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