This rare porcelain tray was made in China, copied from an engraving (347543.2), which, in turn, was copied from a Roman silver platter, known as ‘The Corbridge Lanx'. The lanx was found in 1735 by nine-year old Isabel Cutter, in the banks of the River Tyne, and is one of the highlights at the British Museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pe_prb/t/the_corbridge_lanx.aspx
Blue and white Chinese export hard paste porcelain tray with design representing the shrine of Apollo at Delos. Copy of 4th century AD silver Roman dish known as 'Corbridge Lanx' which was found by the river Tyne in 1734/5 and presented to the Duke of Somerset. Scene taken from a drawing by William Shaftoe engraved 'J.van der Gucht i 1736'. Patricia Ferguson describes 'Tray, porcelain, of rectangular form, painted in underglaze blue after an engraving by G. van der Gucht, published in 1736, of the 4th century AD silver Corbridge Lanx (platter) incorporating the arms of Seymour, Duke of Somerset; Quarterly 1st and 4th, Or on a pale gules between a fleur-de-lis azure three lions of England; 2nd and 3rd, Gules two wings conjoined in lure the tips downwards or. The arms are beneath a duke's coronet with supporters- Dexter, A unicorn argent, armed, maned and tufted or, gorged with a ducal coronet and chained; Sinister, A bull azure ducally gorged, chained, hoofed and armed or, Beneath the arms the motto 'Feu pour devoir', Qianlong period (1736-95), c. 1737-38. Charles Seymour (d.1748), 6th Duke of Somerset, married firstly to Lady Percy (d.1722), sole heir of the 11th and last Earl of Northumberland, and married secondly, Lady Charlotte Finch in 1726. In 1735, a spectacular 4th century AD Roman silver tray was found by the River Tyne at Corbridge, Northumberland, on the family estate. The platter possibly depicts the Delian Shrine; Delos was the birthplace of Apollo and Artiemis. Apollo stands in a temple watching as Athena (Minerva) greets Artemis (Diana the huntress) on the extreme left. The seated woman may be identified as Leto the mother of the twins and the standing woman her sister Ortygia. Shortly after its discovery, a drawing was made by William Shaftoe and engraved by G. van der Gucht, which was copied in China. Two trays are known to have survived; the other is at The National Trust for Scotland, Drum Castle Aberdeen. The Corbridge Lanx may be seen in the British Museum (PRB P.1993.4-1.1) and the engraving is in the British Library (G2643). See Regina Krahl, Ancient China Trade Ceramics at the British Museum, 1994. See David Sanctuary Howard, Chinese Armorial Porcelain, Volume II, (2003) R3, p 418; and Connoisseur Year Book, 1956, pp.25-26.' Measurements: 374mm x 490mm x 45mm; width of rim 28mm; Base: 323mm x 445mm.
Possibly acquired by William 4th Earl of Mount Edgcumbe in 1875. A handwritten label glued to the underside of the dish reads: 'This piece is a copy of the celebrated Corbridge Lanx, a piece of Roman silver plate, weighing  oz, found in 1734 near Corbridge in Northumberland a [property owned by the] Duke of Somerset. Mt. E. Oct.15.1875'. Water damage and fading has rendered it partially illegible. [An interpretation of the missing words has been enclosed within square brackets]. In November 1872, the 4th Earl's sister, Lady Ernestine Edgcumbe, was visiting her cousin Carry in Northumberland. They visited Alnwick Castle and Ernestine observed: “I saw the Museum, which contains a number of Roman relics – picked up in this region of the Roman Wall – amongst other a most beautiful gold “plaque” worked in high relief with figures &c. representing an altar and sacrifice. Among other curiosities I observed two Irish horns like what we have at Cotehele, but not in nearly such good preservation.”