Supplied by George Wickes to Sir Robert Walpole in 1738
This important tureen is one of a small group of English eighteenth-century
silver with a fully documented record of its original purchase. It was supplied to
Sir Robert Walpole, the first, or prime, minister of George I and George II,
by the Suffolk-born goldsmith and retailer George Wickes on July 29, 1738. Wickess
Gentlemans Ledgers, preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum, record its purchase
by Walpole for £63 2s 0d.
Walpole, the builder of Houghton Hall in Norfolk, commissioned William Kent to carry
out most of its interior decoration. The design of this tureen, based loosely on drawings by Giulio Romano,
may also be the work of Kent.
We were very pleased that this tureen could return to Norfolk when we negotiated its sale
on behalf of a New York collector to Norwich Castle Museum, England.
Now on view in the newly renovated keep of Norwich Castle, the tureen will be included in the forthcoming exhibition Houghton Revisited at Houghton Hall,
from May to September 2013. The magnificent art collection of Great Britains first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, sold to Catherine the Great to
adorn the Hermitage in St Petersburg, will be reassembled in its spectacular original setting at Houghton for the first time for over 200 years. Several pieces of
Walpole silver will also be included in the exhibition. See www.houghtonrevisited.com.