During the early 19th century, the English silversmithing company Garrard expanded at a tremendous rate, especially after the decline of Rundell, Bridge and Rundell in the 1820s. Although the firm’s connection to the British monarchs was first established in 1735 through a royal commission for Frederick, Prince of Wales, it was Queen Victoria who officially appointed the firm as Crown Jeweller in 1843.
This tea and coffee set was commissioned by Queen Mary (1867-1953) in 1934 and 1946. Each piece was given individually as a Christmas or birthday gift throughout this period to her grandson, Prince Richard, 2nd Duke of Gloucester (b.1944). Cast with melon-fluted bodies and engraved with his initial beneath a royal duke’s coronet, the bases are inscribed with the date and occasion for each gift. After her marriage to King George V in 1893, Queen Mary developed a keen interest in the Royal Collections. She fastidiously researched her family’s collection and kept records of all subsequent purchases. Two catalogue notes hand-written by the Queen survive for this set.