A china breakfast set ordered by a marquis to honor Queen Victoria on her first visit to Scotland is due for auction next week.
John Campbell, 2nd Marquess of Breadalbane, had the set of almost 300 pieces made as part of a massive modernization at Taymouth Castle in Perthshire prior to the royal visit from September 7-10, 1842.
It is said that the young Queen Victoria was so enchanted by what she saw in Taymouth with her husband Prince Albert that it confirmed her love for Scotland.
The royal couple leased Balmoral Castle further north in Deeside in 1848 before buying it in 1852.
The breakfast set includes almost 300 pieces (Stewart Attwood / PA)
The breakfast service, ordered from the Worcester Porcelain Factory and made up of pieces painted with heather branches and the family crown, is part of a sale of 43 Earls of Breadalbane and Holland properties that were part of Taymouth Castle.
They will be auctioned in an online Lyon & Turnbull auction in Edinburgh on Tuesday 18 May.
Katherine Wright, Lyon & Turnbull European ceramics specialist, said: “The 2nd Marquess of Breadalbane who ordered the breakfast service was part of a legendary Scottish family.
“They entertained the great and good of Scotland, and no expense was spared to have the ultimate honor of receiving Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
“This huge and beautifully hand-painted set of heather branches and a Breadalbane crown of a B under a crown shows the grandeur of the royal couple’s visit mixed with the spirit of Highland romance.”
The Marquess hired some of the best craftsmen of the era to complete his renovation plans, realizing that Queen Victoria would have the full Scottish experience.
She was duly impressed and wrote in her diary: “It seemed as if a great chief would receive his sovereign in ancient feudal times.”
Breadalbane’s heather service bids are expected to start at £ 2,000 to £ 3,000.
The Campbell Earls of Breadalbane and Holland can trace their origins back to the early 13th century, and the power, wealth and influence of the family peaked during their tenure at Taymouth Castle, from the early 18th century.
Another highlight of the auction is a painting by John Campbell, Viscount Glenorchy (1738-1771), painted around 1763 in Bath by Thomas Gainsborough, widely regarded as the most sought-after portrait artist of his time.
The painting, which has been in the family for almost 250 years, is believed to have been made by the prominent Scottish portrait artist Allan Ramsay and even bears the name “Ramsay” underneath on the frame.
However, Lyon & Turnbull painting specialist Nick Curnow said it was re-attributed in 2019 by Gainsborough expert Hugh Besley.
Mr Curnow said: “It was a real pleasure to come across this work by such an important British artist. The story behind the painting is as fascinating as the fact that it was originally attributed to Allan Ramsay.
“The portrait has never been on the market and we have the receipt, which is very rare.
“Anyone who buys the painting – offers start at 80,000 to 120,000 pounds – takes home a real treasure.”
Other auction items include a rare early English apostle spoon from the reign of Monarch Edward IV from the War of the Roses and a 16th century manuscript known as The Chronicle of Fortigall, written in three languages - Latin, Gaelic and Middle Scots .
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