Set of three graduated tankards, Qianlong c.1782, with the arms of Wodehouse with Nourse in pretence
These three tankards in graduated sizes, can be fairly accurately dated to 1782. The coat of arms on each tankard is extremely well painted and clearly a detailed drawing of great precision was sent to China. Displayed are not only the ancient and augmented arms of Wodehouse, but the tiny gold crescent at the top confirms that the Revd Philip Wodehouse, for whom this set was made, was a second son. The smaller escutcheon ’in pretence’ in the centre indicates marriage with an heiress and in 1775 Philip married Apollonia Nourse, daughter and co-heiress of John Nourse.
Sir Armine Wodehouse, 5th baronet, had three sons, all of whom ordered armorial services at the same time and to the same design (all three being illustrated together at the end of the first chapter in Chinese Armorial Porcelain, Vol II, p.29). They can all be dated by the 1782 marriage of the third son Thomas, to Sarah, daughter of Pryce Campbell, whose joint arms appear on their own service, which furthermore includes a mullet [star] to indicate his status as a third son. The service for the eldest son, Sir John, bears the badge of a baronet which he inherited from his father, as well as the arms of his wife Sophia, niece of the last Lord Berkeley who gave his name to Berkeley Square in London.
The arms of Wodehouse are ancient, going back in a more simplified form to the 11th century and one Bertram of Wodehouse Tower in Yorkshire. In 1415 the recently knighted John de Wodehouse attended Henry V as an Esquire at the Battle of Agincourt and so valiantly defended his king that after the battle was granted augmentations of honour to his arms: the addition of gouttes de sang [drops of blood] on the gold chevron, the crest of a hand emerging from clouds holding a club, and the mottoes ’Frappe Fort’ [Strike Hard] and ’Agincourt’. Not least, he was also granted an annuity of ten pounds a year. His descendants provided a long history of service to parliament and at the establishment of the new Order of Baronets in 1611 a Wodehouse was created thirteenth in precedence by King James I.
Perhaps also of interest, this exceptional set of tankards were made for the great-grandfather of P. G. Wodehouse, creator of the inimitable Bertram (aka Bertie) Wooster and his ever-resourceful valet Jeeves.
Reference : Howard, David S.; Chinese Armorial Porcelain, Volume II, p.476, where these tankards are illustrated, together with the Wodehouse - Berkeley service. See also Volume I, p.646 for the service for the Wodehouse - Campbell service.
Condition : The largest tankard with small chip on the lower edge of the strap handle at the back, otherwise all perfect.