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The Camden Service 1795 in celebration of John Jeffreys Pratt, second Earl Camden's appointment to Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

When John Jefferys Pratt, second Earl Camden, was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1795, his wife, Lady Camden, immediately ordered a large Dessert Service in pattern 185 from Royal Crown Derby. This magnificent service of over 100 pieces was clearly designed to impress in Dublin. Decorated with hand painted pink roses and an unusual green ground it would have made a stunning dining experience.

Camden Plate


A letter dated 11th April 1795 from Royal Crown Derby’s London agent reveals the factory was under great pressure to complete the order in time for the couple to set up home in Ireland:

I have this day got a pretty good order from Lady Camden if it can in any way be done in the time mentioned but her Ladyship asks the greatest attention may be paid to the execution of it the price fixed is 160 guineas I should like to have one plate sent me immediately to show my Lady & pray inform me what you think of the time.”
The issue of time is explained in a letter written on 1st May:
I yesterday waited on Lady Camden and she likes the pattern plate very much, when perfect, and her Ladyship begs the execution of her set may be attended to and likewise she wishes of all her things to have it in Ireland the first week in June and begs you will make every exertion to get either all or the greatest part of it ready by the time.  I am sure it will very much oblige her Ladyship if there is any probability of getting it ready for the time but I fear it will be beyond your powerI y.”
A seven-week turnaround for this order was unrealistic, taking in to account the size of it and the amount of work involved including design and shipping.  It is not surprising that the factory didn’t meet the requested time as a letter written 19th May demonstrates:
You will without fail inform me by return of post the time that Lady Camden’s Set will be here complete she is very much mortified to find it cannot be in Ireland to use the 4th June I hope you will not exceed the time first proposed.”

Camden Bowl and Cup

Further surviving letters indicate that at least part of the service was still being worked on by 5th September when the agent is asking for Lady Camden’s service to be forwarded immediately.  Unfortunately, there are no further references to confirm when the order was finally completed but hopefully it was all delivered in time for a fabulous Christmas feast.

Earl Camden


The Derby connection to the Camden family can be traced further back to the
early 1770s figure of Lord Camden who became the first Earl Camden and was father of John Jeffreys Pratt.

Posted by Fiona Atkinson on 07/01/2019 03:41