Subjects such as this are sometimes referred to as ‘Hans Sloane’ Chelsea – a reference to an advertisement in Faulkner’s Dublin Journal of July 1-4, 1758, announcing ‘…table plates, soup plates and desart plates enamelled from Sir Hans Sloan’s plants’. This was apparently one of the first identifiable references to the Chelsea factory’s popular botanical wares.
Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753), physician to Queen Anne, was a great botanist and collector of rare plants.
From 1712 he owned the Chelsea Physic Garden and leased it to the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London. Most botanical renderings on these Chelsea pieces were taken from illustrations in Philip Miller’s Gardener’s Dictionary and Figures of Plants depicting specimens from the Physic Garden.
‘Hans Sloane’ Chelsea plates appear on the market with some frequency but dishes such as this are a rarer find. Estimated to bring £80-120 at Trevanion & Dean (20% buyer’s premium) in Whitchurch, Shropshire on October 24, it sold via thesaleroom.com at £7000.