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The Paul Storr Bowes Serving Dishes. A very fine pair of William IV Second Course Serving Dishes made in London in 1834 by Paul Storr.


The Dishes have a raised shaped rim decorated with gadrooning. Unusually, however, the bowls of each dish are decorated with five ribs, a feature not usually seen. The border is beautifully engraved with a contemporary Armorial, with Crest above and Motto below, flanked on either side by a pluming scroll cartouche. The Dishes are very well marked on the reverse and are engraved with STORR & MORTIMER. The Dishes are in excellent condition, are of the finest quality and could be used for serving a variety of things on the dining table.

Diameter: 11 inches, 27.5cm.

Weight: 50oz, the pair.


The Armorial, Crest and Motto are those of John Bowes Esq., of Streatlam Castle and Gibside. John was born in 1811, only child of John Bowes, 10th Earl of Strathmore, by his mistress Mary Milner ( 1787-1860 ). She was apparently a local girl from one of his estate villages and appears to have been a servant. The Earl fell in love with Mary in 1809 and thereafter they lived quietly and affectionately at Streatlam, as man and wife. In 1820, the 10th Earls health began to deteriorate alarmingly. Sensing death was near, he was determined to marry Mary, which he did at St.Georges, Hanover Square. Sadly he died sixteen hours later. It would seem that the purpose of the marriage was not only to raise Mary to the rank of Countess, but also was an attempt to legtimise his only son and nominated heir. Ironically, if he had taken popular legal advice and married in Scotland, his son would have been fully legitimised under Scottish Law and would have succeeded as 11th Earl of Stratmore. This, however, was not to be the case. The succession was contested by the late Earls brother and the whole matter was only settled after two court cases in 1821 and 1825. As a result, the brother was awarded the peerage and the Scottish Estates which went with it. John Bowes was, in fact, little harmed financially by the whole affair as the Scottish estates were of trivial value compared to those in England which produced as much as £ 100,000 a year and to which he duly succeeded. Despite being one of the richest men in the country, he was deeply hurt by the declaration of his legitimacy.

Bowes was educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge and duly came of age and into his inheritance in 1832. This same year he was elected as Whig MP for South Durham and remained there for 15 years. He was DL and Vice Lieutenant for County Durham, High Sheriff and Lieutenant-Colonel of the Durham Militia. When he decided to leave Parliament, he made Paris his main base. Here he met Josephine, an actress who was interested in the fine and applied arts, which John Bowes was already avidly collecting. They married in 1852 and the two were famously known for their collecting. They founded, endowed, and built the World famous Bowes Museum to house their great accumulation of art objects, bought together through decades of collecting, and recognised as one of the finest private collections in the World. The most famous member of the Bowes family was, of course, H.M the Late Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, whose father was the 14th Earl of Strathmore.