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Designed by Robert-Joseph Auguste (1723–1805); Paris, late eighteenth century; Silver; Courtesy of Christopher Hartop, Norfolk, England, and The Gilbert Collection Trust, London.

The Gilbert Collection, Somerset House, recently unveiled the outstanding royal silver dinner service ordered in Paris by George III (1760– 1820) for his electoral palace in Hanover. This sumptuous eighty-piece hollowware service in the neoclassical taste will be on view through December 31, 2002; a loan made by the Rothschild Family Trust in honor of the late Sir Arthur Gilbert. Recently acquired by the Trust, the service will be put on public display at the Rothschild house, Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, in 2003.

This exhibition, fittingly held at Somerset House, which was built by George III’s favorite architect, William Chambers, coincides with the Golden Jubilee year of Her Majesty The Queen, George III’s great-great-great-great-granddaughter. Fine art consultant Christopher Hartop, who advised the last owner in negotiations with the Rothschild Family Trust, notes, “This is one of the last great French eighteenth-century dinner services still in private hands. Never before seen in England, it is the first important service of French silver to go on public display in this country.”

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