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THE ADAIR DISHES. An extremely fine & unusual pair of early George III Supper/Serving Dishes made in London in 1762 by the Royal Silversmith, Thomas Heming.


These unusual Dishes are oval in form with a raised rim which is decorated with bold gadrooning. The centre of each dish is engraved with a contemporary Armorial surrounded by a cartouche of drapery mantling and Rococo shell details. Both dishes are in excellent condition and are very well marked on the reverse. The Arms are those of the ancient Scottish family of Adair, specifically for Robert Adair of Balymena, County Antrim, who succeeded his father in 1762, and these dishes may well have been purchased to celebrate his succession. In 1753, he married Anne, daughter of Alexander MAulay, of Dublin. They had two sons and he died in 1798.

Their family seats were Balymena Castle, County Antrim, and the magnificent Flixton Hall, County Suffolk. Robert Adairs grandson was created a Baronet in 1838 and his eldest son, in turn, was raised to the Peerage as Baon Waveney in 1873. The peerage became extinct in 1886 and the baronetcy in 1988. Unlike so many old families, they seem to have managed to retain their great estates until the very end.

Thomas Heming was principal Goldsmith to the King in 1760, an appointment which he held until 1782. Some of his earliest surviving pieces in the Royal Collection show a French delicacy of taste, and refinement of execution, which was unquestionably inherited from his Master, Peter Archambo. His masterpiece is most probably the Speakers Wine Cistern, 1770, at Belton House, Lincolnshire. Supper Dishes were not made in great quantities, this being one of only three pairs we have offered for sale over the years.

Length: 11.5 inches, 28.75cm.

Width: 8.5 inches, 21.25cm.

Weight: 38oz, the pair.