University Collections of Art and History

Object Record

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Catalog Number 2008.9.275
Object Name Cup, Coffee
Description This cup is from a service made for Augustus Henry Fitzroy, third Duke of Grafton (1735-1811).

Grafton was active in government, serving as a Lord of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales, Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Member of Parliament (both in the House of Commons and the House of Lords), Secretary of State, First Lord of the Treasury, and finally Prime Minister from 1768 until 1770. Grafton's tenure as Prime Minister was somewhat difficult. There was much controversy concerning the radical politician John Wilkes (who despite being outlawed for sedition was elected to Parliament). There also was growing tension with the American colonies; during his tenure the unpopular Townshend duties were repealed.

Grafton was the great-great-grandson of Charles II and one of his mistresses, the Duchess of Cleveland, and in fact his last name "Fitzroy" meant he was an illegitimate descendant of a king. In 1756 Grafton married Anne Liddell (1737-1804). The marriage was not a happy one, and ended in divorce in 1769. Divorce was rare in eighteenth-century Britain, and only possible through an act of Parliament. Later that year he married Elizabeth Wrottesley (1745-1822).

This service, decorated with his initial under a Duke's coronet, accompanied a large dinner service decorated with his full arms (including the baton sinister representing illegitimate birth) displayed accollée with those of his second wife. It was made soon after their marriage.

Augustus FitzRoy, Duke of Grafton
By Pompeo Batoni, 1762
Year Range from 1768.0
Year Range to 1772.0
Material Hard Paste Porcelain
Place of Origin Made in Jingdezhen, Decorated in Guangzhou (Canton), China
Collection The Reeves Center
Collector David Sanctuary Howard Collection of Armorial Porcelain Coffee Cups
On View Reeves Center, Chinese Armorial Gallery