Flight Worcester oval platter from the Hope Service c.1790, sold for £750 at Bonhams.

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Lord Flight is a direct descendant of Thomas Flight (1726-1800) who purchased the Worcester Porcelain Company in 1783 for his sons, and a pride in the family connection prompted his collecting instincts.

Pictured here are two highlights from the auction: a Flight Worcester oval platter from the Hope Service c.1790 and a large Flight, Barr and Barr pot pourri vase, c.1815-20.

Hope service

The neoclassical Hope service, painted by John Pennington with monochrome maidens gazing out to sea representing Hope, had represented a considerable coup for the factory when it was commissioned by William Henry, Duke of Clarence, later Willian IV.

After battling off the competition of Chamberlain and Derby, who were invited to submit specimen plates, Flight’s factory was chosen to complete the work. John Flight writes in his diary in January 1790: “We used our two best painters last week to make some very fine designs for the Duke of Clarence, we have already completed 3 plates and I have sent them to London. One is a gold arabesque design, another the figure of Hope, the other of Patience.”

A few days later on January 24 he added: “Apart from the two plates mentioned… we have made two others with figures, Peace and Plenty. H.R.H. Duke of Clarence has decided on the Hope design with the decoration that we put on the Peace plate, he has ordered a table service that will amount to more than £700 sterling. He has given us a year in which to complete it.”

This dish, one of the larger serving pieces at 21in (53cm) across, had some condition issues so would not match the £4000 achieve for a similar dish Bonhams sold for the same vendor in November 2022. Instead, it took £750 (estimate £800- 1200).

A single soup plate from the service, also damaged and restored, made £280, again just under the estimate.


Flight, Barr and Barr pot pourri vase, £1600 at Bonhams.

The 12in (31cm) pot pourri two-handled vase was probably painted by Thomas Baxter.

Against a light blue and gilt ground are two topographical panels, one depicting Tintern Abbey, Monmouthshire, the other Malvern Church, Worcestershire. The painting style compares favourably with the Carisbrooke Castle vase in the Museum of Royal Worcester that is attributed to Baxter.

It was estimated at £800-1200 and took £1600.