This James II or William and Mary silver-gilt travelling set c.1690 was among the exceptional pieces of English silver sold at the latest sale held by Mellors & Kirk of Nottingham.
The suite comprises a tumbler and a double spice box plus a knife, a twin-pronged fork and a rat-tail spoon with detachable 'cannon' hafts. Finely engraved with amorini trumpeters or birds and foliate scrolls, each piece is struck with the maker's mark of an unknown Huguenot silversmith, TSS.
Only about 15 or 16 items bearing this mark are known and of these only a pair of cups and stands (London 1688) carry a full set of hallmarks.
The arms engraved to the lid of a shagreen case are those of Charles Churchill (1656-1714), the younger brother of John, 1st Duke of Marlborough, and those of Gould. General Churchill fought ably at Blenheim, where he commanded 18 battalions at the centre of the allied line, and at Ramillies where he ordered four brigades of foot to attack the village.
In 1702 he married Mary Gould, daughter of the politician James Gould, to whom he left his estate when he died without legitimate issue in 1714 - a date that appears alongside the armorials.
It seems likely that this travelling set was either a commission by Churchill or a gift from his wife and it could well have been used on campaign.
It was, nonetheless, in the same fine condition as when, sold by Mellors & Kirk in March 1999, they were bought by the present vendor in a bidding dual against the late Alistair Sampson for £42,000.
At the second time of asking, with the estimate set at £10,000-20,000 for the sale on September 17-19, it sold at a more modest £16,000 to a member of the London silver trade.
The buyer's premium was 21% buyer's premium.