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The Gladstone Dinner Service by Paul Storr

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The Gladstone Dinner Service by Paul Storr

- Item No.

The Gladstone service by Storr is almost certainly the largest, most complete service on the market

Key Features

  • This stunning and extremely rare silver service was drafted by Paul Storr for Sir John Gladstone
  • The service was given by the people of Liverpool in appreciation for his public service
  • This is almost certainly the largest Paul Storr service to come on the market in its entirety
  • The service is comprised of 57 pieces in all, each crafted in the master's superb Neoclassical style
  • To find a complete service by this revered craftsman is truly rare
  • Presented in 1824; each piece is fully hallmarked

Item Details

  • Period:
    19th Century
  • Origin:
Outstanding in provenance and artistry, this monumental silver service was crafted by Paul Storr and presented to Sir John Gladstone in 1824. In Liverpool in the early 19th century, there was no one as well known in the thriving city as Gladstone, father of Prime Minister William Gladstone, who made the city a port to rival any in the world. For his astonishing accomplishments in the promotion of the trade and commerce of the city, the people of Liverpool commissioned this exquisite silver service from Storr by public subscription. Storr was the leading silversmith of the period, and to have commissioned such a service from him demonstrates the high regard in which Gladstone was held by his fellow Liverpudlians. This set was presented to Gladstone, with the exception of a few minor, later added pieces, in 1824, and is extraordinary not only for the quality of its individual pieces, but for its size. This service is almost certainly the largest complete set of Paul Storr silver ever to appear on the market in its entirety. To find a complete service by this revered craftsman is truly rare. Most often, only individual parts of such a service would become available, making this an exclusive opportunity to own a full service by Storr.

The service is comprised of 57 pieces in all, each crafted in the master's superb Neoclassical aesthetic. Two exquisite matching six-light candelabra are the set's signature pieces, boasting stunning acanthus decoration, engraved representations of the arms of Gladstone impaling Robertson, for Gladstone and his second wife, the Liver bird and the eloquent dedication inscription. From the four Warwick-style wine coolers to the seven-piece tea and coffee service, this set is an undoubted tour-de-force of Storr's impeccable design. Even a single piece by Paul Storr silver is a treasure of English silver. An entire set, of such outstanding taste and provenance, brings into sharp focus the significant place that Storr holds in the history of silversmithing.

The son of a prosperous merchant, Scottish-born John Gladstone transformed maritime trade and shipping in Liverpool. He followed in his father's footsteps, going into the mercantile business and, having moved to the city in 1786, entered into a partnership with Edward Corries. The pair invested in American grain and tobacco, sending the first convoy of merchantmen to the United States after the War of Independence. Thus, Liverpool soon became one of the major ports of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Gladstone accumulated a great deal a wealth through this enterprise, soon adding Brazilian cotton to his wares, and producing sugar on his plantations in Jamaica, British Guiana and Demerara. He was eventually made Chairman of the West India Association. In 1801, Gladstone ended his partnership with Corries and set up business with his five brothers, investing in shipping insurance, ships, and Liverpool real estate. Advantageously positioned geographically, and making the most of new trade opportunities with America and France directly after their respective wars, Gladstone's business flourished. 

As Gladstone's fortunes increased, so did Liverpool's. A man of tremendous business acumen, he played a key role in enabling and spurring on the early part of the Industrial Revolution. Liverpool's two greatest docks, the Gladstone and the Seaforth, take their names from the man himself and from his estate, built northwest of the city. By the time Gladstone retired, Liverpool was the second richest town in the world, with more millionaires than anywhere except London. Gladstone had a political as well as a business life. He served as a Member of Parliament for Lancaster (1818-1820), Woodstock (1820-1826), and Berwick-upon-Tweed (1826-1827), but never for Liverpool, which soured his relationship with the city. He returned to his native Scotland in 1829, purchasing the Fasque Estate, of which he was created 1st Baronet in 1846.

Presented to Sir John Gladstone (1764-1851) on Monday, 18 October 1824, following a public subscription raised by the people of Liverpool, thence by descent. 

Each candelabra features the dedication inscription: "TO JOHN GLADSTONE ESQUIRE, M.P. THIS SERVICE OF PLATE WAS PRESENTED FEBRUARY MDCCCXXIV BY HIS FELLOW TOWNSMEN AND FRIENDS TO MARK THEIR HIGH SENSE OF HIS SUCCESSFUL EXERTIONS FOR THE PROMOTION OF TRADE AND COMMERCE AND IN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF MOST IMPORTANT SERVICE RENDERED TO THE TOWN OF LIVERPOOL." The arms are those of Gladstone impaling Robertson, for Sir John Gladstone (1764-1851) and his second wife Anne MacKenzie, the daughter of Andrew Robertson, who he married in 1800.
Each piece is marked with the Gladstone crest, and several pieces feature the inscription: "TO JOHN GLADSTONE ESQUIRE M.P. FROM HIS FELLOW TOWNSMEN AND FRIENDS LIVERPOOL 1824"

This magnificent service comprises:

A Pair of Six-Light Candelabra, the bases further stamped "Storr & Mortimer New Bond Street"
27¼" high
429 oz. (13,370 gr.)

A Pair of Soup-Tureens and Covers
15 3/8" wide over handles
343 oz. (10,697 gr.)

Four Oblong Entrée-Dishes, with Old Sheffield Plated Stands
Stands: 14¼ " wide over handles
608 oz. (17,236.51 gr.)

Four Entreé-Dishes, Covers and Handles and Old Sheffield Plated Stands
Stands: 13½ in. (34 cm.) wide over handles
232 oz. (7,244 gr.)

Four Wine-Coolers,  the bases further stamped "Storr & Mortimer New Bond Street"
9¾ in. (25 cm.) high
13 in. wide over handles
511 oz. (16,209 gr.)

Two sets of Four Salt-Cellars and spoons, one set 1829, with eight King's Husk pattern salt-spoons by Mary Chawner, London, 1828-1837
Salt cellars: 3½" diameter
56 oz. (1,753 gr.)

Four Sauce-Tureens And Covers
8¼" wide over handles
153 oz. (4,772 gr.)

Pair of Second-Course Dishes
17" diameter
132 oz. (4,130 gr.)

Graduated Set of Ten Meat-Dishes
Mark of John Houle, London, 1824
Largest: 23¼" wide
706 oz. (21,963 gr.)

A Pair of Salvers
23¾" diameter
329 oz. (10,254 gr.)

A Seven-Piece Tea and Coffee-Service
Includes one creamer by John Samuel Hunt, London, 1862
Coffee-pot, stand and lamp 12½" high
190 oz. (5,928 gr.)

Total gross weight 3,349 oz. (104,078 gr.) 
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Price: $2,800,000
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