Probably Andrea Boucheron or Paolo Antonio Paroletto
For centuries, silver plate played an important role in the diplomatic and social life of ambassadors, allowing them to entertain in opulent style. The appointment of George Hervey, 2nd Earl of Bristol as ambassador to Madrid in 1758 ultimately brought to Ickworth, the Earl's home in Suffolk, the customary grant of nearly 7,000 ounces of perquisite plate. The 2nd Earl was singled-minded in his ambition to elevate himself and the Herveys through dedication to a diplomatic and political career. He rose to be Britain’s most senior diplomat in a Europe engulfed by the Seven Years War and he used his spectacular plate as a critical tool in his diplomatic armoury. By his death in 1775 the 2nd Earl had sufficient plate to dazzle as many as forty dinner guests, all of whom would have been able to eat off silver. This lavishly decorated tureen is one of two commissioned by the 2nd Earl around 1756 and is almost certainly the work of the prestigious Turin-based goldsmiths Andrea Boucheron or Paulo Antonio Paroletto, or them both working together. Although the 2nd Earl already possessed two magnificent oval tureens, the Continental fashion was for table arrangements that included oval and round tureens. Undoubtedly the Earl wished to embrace this fashion, commissioning two round examples for his own grand table. The tureen cover handles have been fabricated in the form of collared snow leopards, the Hervey family crest. On closer inspection it is possible to see other animals depicted across the surface including lobsters, eels, hares and game birds - animals which on various occasions may have also been ingredients in the soup-like stew that became popular in England following French fashion and for which this type of vessel was devised.
Round tureen base, one of two. Italian, c.1756. Almost certainly by either Andrea Boucheron or Paulo Antonio Paroletto, or them both working together. Although their maker’s marks are lacking here they are present on many of Lord Bristol’s other Turin commissions and as the most prestigious and talented goldsmiths then working in the city it seems highly unlikely that the premier pieces made for the English envoy would not have been executed by them, or at least to their design. The shaped circular ‘bombé’ base of the tureen rests on four cast and applied foliate scroll feet, the foliage continuing around the lower edge of the body, intertwining at either end with scroll and rocaille-work that rises around root vegetables to the shell-and-leaf upturned handles. All this detail is cast and applied as are the coats of arms on either side with frilled shields contained within C- and S-scrolls. Behind are chased ermine mantles and a chased lambrequin band with flutes and ovals sits below a cast and chased reed-and-tie moulding applied to the lip. The undersides have been cut out of the tureen base around the peripheral scrollwork. On either side of the tureen is the cast, chased and engraved quartered shield, supporters and motto of the 2nd Earl of Bristol beneath an earl’s coronet and against a chased ermine mantling. The finial handles of the covers are in the form of the Hervey crest.
Part of the Bristol Collection. Acquired by the National Trust in 1956 under the auspices of the National Land Fund, later the National Heritage Memorial Fund
Marks and inscriptions
Base: Each of the bases is stamped on the inside face with the assay mark of Giovan Battista Carron (in office 1753-78), the Savoy cross in a shield flanked by ‘GB’ with ‘C’ beneath and a closed crown above. Scratchweights and inscriptions: On the underside of the covers: ‘A d [/] oz [/] 209 = 16 [/] 199=7’ and ‘B d [/] oz [/] 196 = 21 [/] 194=2’. The liners and the bases have either A or B scratched on them to identify the correct components of each tureen.
Makers and roles
Probably Andrea Boucheron or Paolo Antonio Paroletto, goldsmith probably Andrea Boucheron (circa 1692-1761), goldsmith probably Paolo Antonio Paroletto, goldsmith
James Rothwell, Silver for Entertaining: The Ickworth Collection. Philip Wilson Publishers, 2016, pp. 137-8