c. 1745 China

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Qianlong period circa 1745-50
English Market
Diameter: 15 inches; 38cm

A fine Chinese export porcelain armorial charger with the arms of Cooke quartering Warren with Twysden in pretence, the centre with a view of Fort St George, Madras, the rim with views of Plymouth Harbour.

This service was ordered by Sir George Cooke (1705-1768), only son of Sir George Cooke of Harefield, chief prothonotary in the court of common pleas, by his wife Anne, daughter of Edward Jennings of Dudleston, Shropshire. His paternal grandfather was John Cooke of Cranbrooke, Kent, (though the Cooke family originated in Leiden, Holland) who married an heiress, Mary Warren (d1691) of Cheshire hence the quartering of the Cooke arms with that of Warren. Coincidentally, Mary may have been a relative of Richard Warren who sailed on the Mayflower and whose daughter Sarah married John, son of Francis Cooke, also on the Mayflower. Francis was born in Biddenden in Kent and grew up in Leiden and is likely a relative of Sir George!
He was a barrister and the MP for Tregony (1742-47) and Middlesex (1750-68). He was a Tory, called “a pompous Jacobite” by Horace Walpole, and mainly followed Pitt. In one vital vote in 1764 he was carried to the house suffering from the gout which eventually killed him.
He married in July 1735, Catherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Twysden, 4th Baronet, of East Peckham, Kent, who bore him seven sons. She was an heiress hence the Twysden ‘in pretence’ arms. George succeeded to the estate at Harefield in 1740, where his father had built a fine house, Belhammonds (now Harefield Park), which stands now in ruins having served as a hospital for much of the 20th century. George, the son, built a fine stable block with a clock tower and sundial, on top of which he placed the eagle family crest.
The central image is probably derived from a drawing of Fort St George Madras by Jan van Ryne (1712-60) which was later used in a print by Robert Sayer, 1754. Other services have different views from the same drawing. The righthand rim cartouche shows Plymouth Harbour with the 1747 folly at Mount Edgecumbe, an artificial ruin built from mediaeval stone from the churches of St George and St Lawrence, Stonehouse, which replaced a navigation obelisk - and the Eddystone lighthouse built circa 1709. The lefthand cartouche represents the Pearl River near Canton, though it has become remarkably similar to the Plymouth view, with the pagoda now resembling the lighthouse and similar ruins on the right, and in the distance is an island with a pagoda, probably Whampoa. These scenes were first used on a service for Lord Anson of about 1743.
Fort St George was the main port of call between Plymouth and Canton for ships in the China trade so these scenes are logical.

References: Howard 1974, p325, a plate from this service - and other services with similar decoration; p46-9, the Anson service discussed; Litzenberg 2003, p103, No 88, plate; Phillips 1956, pl 35, plate; Victoria & Albert Museum, FE.61-1978, a sauceboat.
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Cohen & Cohen

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