Monday, December 29, 2014

Heraldic Porcelain

In the same room where I had spotted the colonial American heraldic embroidery that I shared in the post before last, there were also a couple of large plates with a coat of arms on them.  In the usual fashion of giving the general visitor, but not one with a special heraldic interest, about the plates, the explanatory signs with the plates read:

Jingdezhen, China, 1739-1742
Hard-paste porcelain

A very terse description for these:

A search through the heraldic reference books back home discovered the following:

From Burke’s General Armory:

Okeover (London; Rowland Okeover, merchant, third son of Philip Okeover. Visit. London. 1508).  Ermine on a chief gules three bezants, the centre one charged with a mullet sable.  Crest - An oak tree vert acorned or.

The Visitation of London, 1568, gave basically identical information:

Ermine on a chief gules three bezants, the centre one charged with a mullet sable.  Crest - An oak tree vert acorned or.

The Visitation of Staffordshire, 1583 had some additional information:

Okeover of Okeover.  Quarterly, 1 and 4, Ermine on a chief gules three bezants (Okeover); 2, Per pale indented sable and argent (Atlowe); 3, Azure a bend of lozenges argent (Grin).  Crest - In a ducal coronet or a demi-dragon ermine armed gules.

With no quarter for Grin, but with the second quarter for Atlowe named, I went back to Burke and found:

Atloe.  Per pale indented sable and argent.

With no information on the other two quarters or the impaled arms on the sinister side of the shield, I  pulled out my copy of Papworth's Ordinary of British Armorials and found the following information:

Gules a fess between three annulets or.  Petit.  Pettus, Rackheath, Norfolk.  Thomas Petyte.

Argent on a saltire engrailed sable nine annulets or.  Leake, co. Nottingham, co. Derby, and co. Yorkshire.  John de Leyke.  John Lake, Bishop of Bristol, 1084-5, afterwards Chichester.  Sir John Leyke, Sutton in the Dale, co. Derby.  Leeke, Newark-on-Trent, co. Nottingham.

Sable three pheons argent. Apreece, Archer, Egerton, Foster or Forstall, Nichell, Nicholl, Nicholls, Nicolls, O’Shee, Rednes, Rees, Sotham.

My 1939 copy of Burke's Landed Gentry gives the explanation for these arms. Under the entry for Okeover of Okeover, amongst others members of this family it cites a Rowland Okeover (1651-1730) who married "Elizabeth, dau. and heir of Sir Thomas Pettus, Bt., of Blackheath, Norfolk."  Their son, Thomas (1679-1710), married "Catherine, dau. and heir of William Leake, Baron of the Exchequer."  Thomas and Catherine's son, Leake Okeover, 1701-1765, who succeeded his grandfather Rowland, married Mary, daughter of John Nichol.

So, with the earlier quartering for Atloe/Atlow, the arms on the chargers (and presumably the chargers themselves) belong to Leake Okeover of Okeover (1701-1765) and his wife Mary (d. 1764), and represent as follows:  Quarterly Okeover, Atlow, Pettus, and Leake, marshalling Nichol.

As Leake Okeover died without issue, the estates were left to his great nephew Edward Walhouse.  When Edward died also without issue, the estates passed to the heir male, Haughton Farmer Okeover, of Okeover, and thence to his descendants.  In the interim, the arms have dropped the Pettus and Leake quarters (presumably because the current heirs are unrelated to them) but kept the Atlow quartering.

Okeover Hall, the seat of Okeover of Okeover, is in Ashbourne, county Derby.

But what I really don't know is why the National Gallery in Washington, DC couldn't, or didn't, put at least some of that information with the explanatory cards with these plates.


  1. Happy New Year and my compliments for your valuable work!

    Marc, from Héraldie

  2. Thank you, Marc! May the coming year bring you much joy!

  3. A reader recently (November 30, 2016) send me a page from Newsletter #79 (Autumn 2016) from Heirloom and Howard Limited in the UK, an antique dealer who specializes in Chinese Armorial Porcelain (CAP). Entry no. 50 in that newsletter is:

    Important and unique plate with the quarterly arms of Okeover impaling Nichol, c.1739, from the most expensive and elaborate armorial service ever made for the British Market. One of 70 plates, each costing one pound, made for Leake Okeover of Ashbourne in the Peak, cop[y]ing exactly a design by the artist Arthur Devis. Rferences: CAP I, 398; China for the West, pp. 413-415 for the original invoice, painting and a further example; A Tale of Three Cities, p. 57; etc.

    Heirloom and Howard's price on this plate is £15,000 (US$18,934). (Not a bad return on the original one pound cost!)