The service, made for the Rev William Taswell (1708-77) and enamelled with the Taswell arms, is mentioned in his will written in 1775. He wrote: “I leave to my son George Taswell (now residing as I suppose at Madras in India) my two half pint silver cups and all such China in my possession as shall be found marked with my family’s arms.”
In 1814 George left “the whole of the China ware on which are the arms of the family” to his younger son George Morris Taswell, also employed by the East India Company.
William was the rector of Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire. He was a member of a family who had been merchants in the City of London from Elizabethan times.
It is rare to have specific contemporary records relating to Chinese armorial porcelain. Of some 5000 services sent back to Britain from China during the 18th century, there are perhaps only a dozen instances that can be linked to contemporary records.
On the market for the first time in its history, the estimate in Newbury is £5000-7000.