March 02, 2011

A bowl with a dashing tale to tell....

This rare large pearlware bowl by Spode, circa 1815, has an interesting tale to tell.

Large Spode Pearlware salad bowl, printed in blue with a large version of the Boy & Buffalo pattern, within a moth & trellis border, the outer panels with smaller versions of the same pattern.
Paper label to base reads: Part of the Leeds ware Service, Presented to the Marquess of Anglesey, commemorating his return from the Battle of Warterloo, bought at Anglesey Castle sale October 1904
Circa 1815

Field Marshal Henry William Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey, KG, GCB, GCH, PC (17 May 1768 – 29 April 1854) is best known for his role in the Battle of Waterloo, where he was the second in command under Wellington. His charge with the heavy cavalry was a critical point in the historic victory of the day.
The Earl of Uxbridge was not Wellington's first choice at the time of the Waterloo campaign, perhaps because his rather dashing style did not win favour with the Duke; also an earlier elopement with Wellington's sister in law had left a quite understandable residue of animosity. On 18 June 1815, however, he distinguished himself time after time and had at least eight horses shot under him. At the end of the battle, while riding next to Wellington, his right leg was hit by grapeshot, leading to the memorable exchange as he said "By God, sir, I've lost my leg!" to which Wellington replied "By God, sir, so you have!"
His leg was amputated above the knee, without any medication, and he went on to have a long military and political career - with one leg. His leg outlasted him, being kept as a souvenir by the owner of the house where the amputation was done, where it survived until the 1860's as a must-see for the popular Battle of Waterloo tourists.

(Info sourced from Wikipedia pages)

I wonder if the Marques ever looked at the boy on the buffalo on his fine Spode service, and thought of those splendid days campaigning on horseback.....
Provenances like this are always problematic, as associating a piece with a famous person is an easy way to increase the price; however, the date on this service is spot on for the supposed date of presentation - 1815 - I wonder who did the presenting? As pottery, it would not have been the most expensive purchase, unlike Wellington's vast rewards from the people of London, including the famous Sevres Egyptian Service..... Something a little more basic, like his subjects on his estates, perhaps?

This rarity will be released for sale in our 2011 exhibition in Geelong, to be held in April.