University Collections of Art and History

Object Record

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Catalog Number 2008.9.31
Object Name Cup, Coffee
Description This cup was made for Sir William Yonge, fourth Baronet Colyton, in Devon.

This cup was made shortly after William inherited the baronetcy from his father in 1731. William already had an armorial service that had been made about 1726, but he so wanted to broadcast the fact that he was a baronet that he commissioned an entirely new service identical the old but with the tiny Red Hand of Ulster on the upper part of the shield, which is the badge of a Baronet of England.

William Yonge served as a member of Parliament and as Secretary of State for War from 1735 until 1741. William earned the enmity of King George II, who called him "stinking Yonge." Yonge was also a member of the Order of the Bath, a British order of chivalry. It is represented by the ribbon inscribed "Tria Juncta in Uno (three joined in one)" that encircles his shield.

In addition to his political career, William also achieved notoriety by his very public divorce from his first wife Mary Heathcote. The couple had been estranged for some time when in 1724 spies hired by Yonge found his wife "in naked bed" with her lover, Colonel Thomas Norton. William, who himself had a mistress, sued for divorce in Parliament (the only legal way to divorce in eighteenth-century Britain) and won. His wife did not contest the divorce, and so forfeited her dowry of £12,000. The episode inspired Lady Mary Wortley Montagu to write the poem "An Epistle from Mrs. Y---- to her Husband" which lamented the powerlessness of women trapped in a failed marriage. In 1729 William married Anne Howard.

William also styled himself a writer, authoring a comic opera and writing several poems which were sometimes mistaken for the work of the poet Alexander Pope (much to Pope's displeasure).
Year Range from 1731.0
Year Range to 1735.0
Material Hard Paste Porcelain
Place of Origin Made in Jingdezhen, China
Collection The Reeves Center
Collector David Sanctuary Howard Collection of Armorial Porcelain Coffee Cups
On View Reeves Center, Chinese Armorial Gallery