THE QUEEN ADELAIDE GARNITURE DE TABLE. A MAGNIFICENT VICTORIAN SILVER TABLE GARNITURE BY ROBERT GARRARD

London, with marks for R and S Garrard and R and S Garrard and Co., 1839-40 and 1852

Comprising a large silver mounted mirror plateau, in four sections with two extra end sections, the boarder cast and chased and applied with vines and scrolls on massive scroll supports, embellished with the arms and supporters and cypher of Queen Adelaide a pair of matching seven-light candelabra with conforming trails of chased vine leaves and the cypher for Queen Adelaide and a ten light candelabrum with the arms of Curzon-Howe impaling Gore for 1st Earl Howe, on a massive scrolled oval base with coats of arms centered by a fountain. Including five oak and iron bound cases with brass labels engraved for queen Adelaide and Earl Howe.

The Surtout, 318cm. long 70cm wide

The candelabra 121cm and 84cm high respectively.

It is very unusual to find a royal piece of this quality. This wonderful opulent and richly cast and chased table garniture has a fascinating history, The Mirror Plateau and the pair of seven light candelabra were given by Queen Adelaide to the first Earl Howe born Richard William Penn Curzon on 11th December 1796. He later augmented the suite by adding a sumptuous ten light candelabrum in 1852 celebrating his new title and his ancestry with the arms of Curzon-Howe Impaling Gore.

Having succeeded his grandfather as Viscount Curzon of Penn, he took his seat in the House of Lords on 26th April 1820 and was created Earl Howe on 15th July of the following year. As a prominent Conservative he was appointed as Lord of the Bedchamber in 1829 and in the subsequent two years was Lord Chamberlain to Queen Adelaide, the Queen Consort at the time of her Coronation and that of William IV on 8th September 1821. He was dismissed from this influential post later in the same year by the Prime Minister, Earl Grey, for refusing to support the passage of the Reform Bill through parliament. The Queen, who seems to have had something of a forceful character refused to accept that he was removed from this role and he continued to fill it unofficially before being reinstated in 1834; a position he retained until her death in 1849.

This exceptionally generous gift marks the Queens devotion to her servant. Indeed their intimacy led to some scandal at the time although it is likely that this was put about by envious Whig ladies, who resented the Queen's interference in affairs of state. Certainly her supposed interference in politics led to her widespread unpopularity following the passage of the Reform Bill. On one occasion she was attacked by an angry mob while in her carriage; her footmen beating off the assailants and she was seen as the prime mover behind the dismissal of lord Melbourne's government in 1834 of which even The Times reported, "the Queen has done it all" After the death of William IV on 20th June 1837, she spent some time in Malta and Mederia and was granted a very generous settlement of £100,000 per annum. No doubt this enormous income allowed her to pursue charitable acts, amongst them paying for the construction of the anglican church in Valetta, which still survives today. She also subscribed as much as £20,000 annually to public institutions Acts of private generosity such as this gift to her long serving Chamberlain would have been possible with such a large income and relatively few responsibilities. By the time she died she had won universal esteem and her unpopularity and alleged interference was forgotten.

This Exceptional gift was made shortly after a tour she made of the English provinces in the autumn of 1839. It was at that time that she visited Earl Howe at Gopsall Hall in Leicestershire as well as the Earl of Warwick at Warwick Castle the Duke of Rutland at Belvoir Castle and the conservative Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel at at Draycott Manor. It may have graced the table at any of the Earl's residences, which include Curzon House in South Audley Street., Penn House Near Amersham or Gopsall or indeed all of them as the stout cases would allow for easy transportation. The Earls addition of a further candelabrum was made after the Queens death adding to the Splendor of an already distinguished piece.

Garrard's would have been an obvious choice of maker. They were established in 1735 and carried out numerous royal commissions as well as working for the nobility. They made extensive displays of silverware at both the great exhibition in london at the Crystal Palace in 1851 and later at the international exhibition of 1862. This wonderful work of art was sold by the family on the 6th of December at Christie's in London in 1933 and has not often appeared on the market since. It is an extraordinary testament to the Generosity of a Queen, the Loyalty of a servant and the skills of great craftsmen and represents a rare opportunity to acquire such a piece.

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Price : £1,900,000