REF No. 6809 GG
GG: Chinese export armorial porcelain soup plate, arms of the Duke of Hamilton
Yongzheng period circa 1733
Diameter: 9 inches; 23cm
from the Golden Gate Collection
A Chinese export porcelain soup plate painted with an elaborate coat of arms, the rim with gilt floral sprays
This was made for James Hamilton, 5th Duke of Hamilton and 2nd Duke of Brandon KT FRS (1703-1743). He married three times and was made a Knight of the Order of the Thistle in 1726 so this was made after that but before his third marriage to Anne Spencer in 1737. He held the office of a Lord of the Bedchamber, 1727-1733, and was one of the first Governors of the Foundling Museum in 1739. His widow married Richard Savage Nassau.
James was the son of Lt.-Gen. James Hamilton, 4th Duke of Hamilton and Elizabeth Gerard. He was educated at Winchester College and Christ Church, Oxford. He married, firstly, Lady Anne Cochrane, daughter of John Campbell Cochrane, 4th Earl of Dundonald in 1723. He then married Elizabeth Strangways, daughter of Thomas Strangways, in 1727. His third wife was Anne Spencer in 1737.
He gained the rank of Captain General in 1724 in the service of the Royal Company of Archers and died of palsy in 1743. He seems to have had charitable instincts and was one of the first Governors of the Foundling Hospital in 1739. He employed the architect William Adam on various projects including the hunting lodge at Châtelherault.
A passage in the 1st Earl of Egmont's diary in 1734 does not give a favourable picture of his character, or at any rate of his reputation. “The Duke of Hamilton has embarked with the Jacobite party, but having secretly offered to be with the Court if the King will make him a hereditary English Peer, the Jacobites, who have learned this, have renounced him, as a man unsettled, but all for his own interests. The King recalled him from Rome, where he was too busy with the Pretender's party ... yet at his return the King made him Lord of the Bedchamber, which place he slighted, though kept open a year for him."
The family seat was Hamilton Palace, the grandest stately home in Britain with an art collection to rival the Royal Collection. Sadly by 1921 it had fallen into disrepair with the contents sold. It was demolished in 1927.
References: Howard 2003, p265.