The armorial dinner service

A view across the lawn to Shugborough Hall

The armorial dinner service consists of some the most decorative and aesthetic items in our collection.

The armorial dinner service was commissioned for George Anson in the 1740s by European merchants of Canton, China, in gratitude for the assistance given by Anson’s crew in extinguishing a fire in the city. Anson was a prolific sailor, he circumnavigated the globe in the HMS Centurion between 1740 and 1744, and was made First Lord of the Admiralty in 1748.

What’s on the service?
The service is hand painted with the Anson coat of arms, and waterscapes of the Pearl River and Plymouth sound.  The centre of the service is painted with the breadfruit tree.  This image is based on an original drawing by Piercy Brett. The tree was discovered by the crew of the centurion on the island of Tinian and provided much needed sustenance.

Did you know? There are 208 pieces of identical china in the service.  Also, if you look closely you can see that the service shows signs of wear, so it must have been used!