Speaker Smith, Political Interest: A Set George III Silver Sauce Tureens, Le Sage, London 1774


A exquisite set of four George III silver oval two handled oval sauce tureens and covers. Of Oval bombe form on four rocaille capped scroll feet, with ovolo cast borders and handles. These wonderful tureens are appropriately matched with 2 very fine pairs of Onslow pattern sauce ladles, one pair with plain circular bowls and the other pair with shell bowls.


These beautiful tureens come from the Speaker Smith service, and are engraved to one side with Queen Anne's Royal coat of arms and to the other the crest of John Smith. (1655-1723 - first speaker of the 'new' house of commons)

The onslow pattern was reputedly named in honour of Arthur Onslow (1691- 1768) the famous 18th century speaker of the House of Commons.


Hallmarked for London 1774 by the renowned Huguenot Silversmith Augustin Le Sage and each base and lid are numbered in pairs.

The circular bowl ladles are hallmarked for London circa 1770, makers's is RR for either Richard Rugg or Robert Rew. (Probably the latter)

The shell bowl ladles are hallmarked for London circa 1770, maker's mark Thomas & William Chawner.



These exceptionally fine sauce tureens are in excellent condition and are very important museum quality pieces, from a service of incredible national significance representing a very important period of English politics.


The serving ladles are also in exceptional condition, the hallmarks are partially obscured/misshapen as is commonly found on flatware of this period. This is due to the hallmarking process employed at the time. The stems of the ladles would have been misshapen as the marks were struck. Upon return from the assay office, the silversmith would have to reshape the stem, this was common practice at the time and hence the marks are usually partially or completely obscured.

Excellent museum quality pieces!


The Speaker Smith Service: Speaker John Smith, was elected as Speaker of the House of Commons on October 24, 1705. As was customary, John Smith had been issued with 4,000 ounces of plate for his use whilst he held the office of Speaker. Smith held the post until November 1708 and the following October the plate was discharged (i.e. released for him to keep) as a perquisite of the office. Smith and his descendants continued to add to the service, having the items engraved with the arms and initials of Queen Anne.

Provenance: Captain William Smith (d.1773), son of John Smith (1655-1723), Speaker of the House of Commons, then by descent to his nephew.

Thomas Assheton Smith (1725-1774), then by descent, father to son, until his grandson's widow, who left the Welsh estates to her husband's great-nephew on her death in 1858
George William Duff-Assheton-Smith (1848-1904), then by descent to his great nephew.


John Smith: On 24 October 1705 Smith was elected Speaker of the House of Commons, beating William Bromley by forty-three votes. In 1706 he was made one of the Commissioners for arranging the Union with Scotland, a task he performed so successfully that when the House assembled in October 1707 with the addition of the new Scottish members, he was re-elected Speaker without a contest. It is presumably this rare tribute which is commemorated in this picture, in which Smith is shown holding a scroll inscribed 'The Union Act' (the Act had received the royal assent on 6 March 1707). In April 1708 he resigned the post in favour of his political ally Sir Richard Onslow and returned to the chancellorship of the Exchequer until August 1710, when he retired from high-level politics with the lucrative sinecure of one of the four principal tellers of the Exchequer, which he retained until his death.


Tureen Dimensions 

Length (handle to handle): 8 3/8 in. or 21.5 cm

Width: 4 inches or 10.5cm

Height: 5 1/4 inches or 13.5cm


Total weight of Tureens: 92.7oz, 84.5 ozT or 2,628g

Plain bowl sauce ladles

Length: 7 inches or 18cm

Weight: 3.5oz, 3.2ozT or 99g

Shell bowl sauce ladles

Length: 7 inches or 18cm

Weight: 3.9oz, or 3.54ozT 110g


Total Weight: 100oz, 91.2ozT or 2837g

Please enquire for further images or details.

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