Engraved with the royal cypher, they are part of the huge service ordered by William IV and Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, the queen consort, from royal goldsmith Rundell, Bridge & Co.
Collectively the service, supplied across the 1830s, weighed close to 10,000oz. Pieces were engraved with the king’s cipher, the queen’s cipher, or both.
The many elements of the service have been dispersed since it was sold as a single lot at Christie’s May 1898 sale of ‘Old English Silver plate’. The catalogue description at the time mentions 168 dinner plates, 30 soup plates, a circular bread basket, four wine coolers, two pairs of soup tureens, six sauce tureens, and various meat and serving dishes.
Prominent trading family
These particular sauce tureens, estimated at £10,000-15,000 in the Maidenhead sale, were acquired by Sir Lewis Richardson who owned Harrington House, now The Russian Embassy, at 13 Kensington Palace Gardens, and have passed through descent to the current owner.
The Richardsons were a prominent trading family in South Africa, instrumental in Port Elizabeth’s rise as an economic force in the late 19th and early 20th century.