The 46-piece service made in the 18th century for the Pitt family is expected to sell for £8000-12,000 at Lyon & Turnbull’s auction at 22 Connaught Street on November 5.
For much of its history these plates, bowls and serving dishes, each decorated with deer and reserves of white-enamelled ‘bianco-sopra-bianco’ scrolling flowers, were at Boconnoc House in Cornwall. Famously the house was purchased in 1717 by Thomas Pitt (1653-1726) using money he made from the sale of a 410ct diamond he had bought in India while president of Madras.
The so-called Pitt Diamond was sold to the Regent of France to be set in the crown of Louis XV for his coronation.
Pitt, who sat six times as an MP, was the founder of the political dynasty that included his grandson William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham (Pitt the Elder), and his great-grandson Pitt the Younger, both British prime ministers.
Boconnoc was also home to William Wyndham, 1st Baron Grenville (1759-1834), who served briefly as prime minister of a coalition government from 1806-07. The house and estate – including this dinner service – passed into the Fortescue family by marriage in 1864 and has remained in the family’s possession ever since.
The East Asian tranche of the new-format Asian Art in London event, that opened last week, runs until Saturday, November 7.