Steppes Hill Farm Antiques Newsletter #15 - September 2012

How is it possible to link a rare piece of Documentary English Porcelain made in 1807 to the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Read about this months Featured Item below and you will discover the tenuous link;

Chamberlains Worcester Election Jug

"Election Jugs" were produced by several English pottery and porcelain factories for local MPs, both as propaganda tools and to commemorate victories. They are however scarce and very collectable. This months featured item is a fabulous example from the Chamberlains Worcester factory. It is a documentary orange and gilt jug commemorating the election of William Gordon in 1807. The full wording on the jug reads: 'To record the Memorable Triumph of Liberty in the Return of Wm Gordon Esq 17th Feby 1807. by a glorious majority of 352'. Two examples of this jug are to be found in the Worcester Porcelain Museum.

William Gordon{1772-1823} obtained the seat at Worcester in 1807 in a contested by-election after having been defeated in the General election of 1806. He succeeded Henry Bromley, whose lavish bribes were so blatant that he resigned rather than let Gordon's petition against his election proceed to a vote in the House of Commons. Gordon a London Portuguese merchant represented the independent faction in the constituency, which was notoriously expensive to contest because of the high number of non-resident voters and the ingrained corruption. He stood down in 1818 no longer able to afford the expense of election, which by this time had ruined his business. As his clerk wrote; 'no business could stand £25,000 for contested elections, £20,000 for house and furniture in Portland Place and £19,000 for jewels to Lady Gordon...'

In 1815 he succeeded his uncle Sir James Duff, 1st Baronet, as second Baronet of Halkin according to a special remainder, and assumed the same year by Royal license the additional surname of Duff. He therefore became Sir William Duff-Gordon, 2nd Baronet. Duff-Gordon married Caroline Cornewall in 1810. He died in March 1823, aged 50, and was succeeded in the baronetcy by his son Alexander (3rd Baronet).

The 5th Baronet, Sir William's great nephew, was none other than Sir Cosmo Edmund Duff Gordon. He is perhaps best known for the circumstances under which he survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, along with his wife, Lucy Christiana, Lady Duff-Gordon and her secretary, Laura Mabel Francatelli. The three of them were among only 12 people in Lifeboat #1, whose capacity was 40. Criticism after the disaster suggested that he had boarded the emergency boat in violation of the "women and children first" policy, that the boat had failed to return to rescue those struggling in the water, and that his offer of five pounds to each of the lifeboat's crew might be viewed as a bribe to keep their distance from those still in the water. However, exciting new evidence which has only just come to light from recently discovered letters written by Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon and his colourful wife, Lucy, has vindicated the couple and finally restored the good name of the Duff-Gordon's.

Images of Sir Cosmo Edmund Duff Gordon, 5th Baronet, and Lucy Christiana, Lady Duff-Gordon, and as they were portrayed by Martin Jarvis and his wife Rosalind Ayres in the 1997 film Titanic by James Cameron.

First Period Worcester James Giles Suspended Ram Coffee Cup Grainger Worcester Canary Yellow Ovoid Vase Rare Liverpool Baluster Shape Vase First Period Worcester Blind Earl Sweetmeat Dish
Pens / Pencils & Writing Equipment Category George IV Silver Gilt Vinaigrette Peacocks & Birds in Parkland Edwardian Silver & Enamel 'Vintage Car' Vesta Case Victorian Scottish Silver Gilt Freedom Box

Getting back to Porcelain and silver, new stock uploaded to the site this month includes; some interesting new additions to the Pens / Pencils & Writing Equipment Category, a very rare First Period Worcester James Giles Coffee Cup, a cracking George IV Silver Gilt Vinaigrette depicting Peacocks in Parkland, a nice Grainger Worcester Canary Yellow Ovoid Vase, a scarce Edwardian silver Vesta Case enamelled with a vintage car, a rare early Liverpool Baluster Shape Vase, some Scottish Provincial silver items and an exceptional Victorian Scottish silver gilt Freedom Box presented to the Marquis of Lorne, and a fine First Period Worcester Blind Earl Sweetmeat Dish.

I do hope that you will find this Newsletter informative and helpful and will allow us send it to you on a regular basis. I would welcome any feedback you may have, both positive and negative.

David W.A. Buck.
Steppes Hill Farm Antiques