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Vice-Admiral Sir John Duckworth, K.B. - Silver Spill Dish, 1807
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Vice-Admiral Sir John Duckworth, K.B. - Silver Spill Dish, 1807

Measurements: Length: 26.5cm (10.5in)



Of ovoid form with rope twist border and acanthus handles at each end. Engraved to the centre with the armorial achievement of Admiral Duckworth and the motto ‘Disciplina, fide, perseverantifi’ (By discipline, fidelity, and perseverance). Maker’s mark of Thomas Robins. Hallmarked London 1807.

As with Nelson, the career achievements of Vice-Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth, 1st Baronet, G.C.B. (1748-1817) can be read through the augmentations of honour made to his coat of arms. When installed as a Knight of the Bath in 1803 for the capture of the islands of St. Bartholomew, St. Martin, St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix and defeat of the Swedish and Danish forces stationed there, he was granted the augmentations of a ‘naval crown’, a ‘bomb fired’, an anchor and of course the circlet bearing the Order of the Bath motto 'Tria Juncta In Uno' around his shield. Likewise Nelson’s family arms were augmented with three ‘bombs fired’ after he was created a Knight of the Bath in 1797.

The two supporters granted to Duckworth upon his installation are the figures of Orion and ‘A British Sailor habited proper’. The first commemorated the 74-gun H.M.S. Orion which Duckworth commanded at the fleet action of the Glorious First of June 1794 and for which he received the Naval God Medal and the commendation of Earl Howe. The second supporter, holding the flag of a Rear Admiral of the White inscribed 'Minorca', commemorates Duckworth's reduction of that island in 1798 and his subsequent promotion of 1799. In respect of Duckworth’s defeat of a French squadron off San Domingo on 6 February 1806, he followed Nelson’s heraldic lead after the Battle of the Nile, and was granted on ‘a chief wavy also azure the words ‘St. Domingo’ within a branch of laurel, entwined with another of oak gold’. Nelson, of course, as Baron Nelson of the Nile in 1798, was granted ‘A chief undulated argent, and thereon waves of the sea with a palm-tree between a disabled ship on the dexter side and a battery in ruins on the sinister, all proper.’

Above Duckworth’s shield sits his helm, face forward and with open vizor signifying his knightly rank, or, as he would later merit (in 1813 on his retirement as Governor of Newfoundland) the rank of baronet. Interestingly, the absence of a crest on this spill dish maybe explained by the fact that the grant of ‘a tower in flames, on its side a sea-lion azure, its paws pressing against the tower’, was granted in recognition of Duckworth’s forcing of the Dardanelles. The grant was promogulated the same year as this dish was made, ie 1807, and thus the design of the new crest may not yet have been known.