Here is a pair of 18th-century porcelain platters or serving dishes, ten inches by six and three-quarters inches, in superb condition and a marvel to behold. James Giles ran a studio workshop in London where he and his staff decorated white porcelain, and he bought a considerable amount of white porcelain from the Worcester factory. In fact, he once advertised his business as the sole decorating studio for Worcester, but a quick note from the Worcester owners convinced him to abandon that sentence in his advertising. This splendid pair is replete with colorful fruit and claret bands with gilt highlights, and with scrolls and butterflies and leaves and . . . In short, they are a delight to look at, and they may never have been used, since there is no sign of wear to the decoration—though some parts of the gilding on one dish apparently did not fire well. These platters come from a service that must have looked magnificent when it was complete and still together, but over time it has been dispersed throughout the world to various collections. Pieces of this service are very rarely available. At the famed Rous Lench sale (Sotheby's, 1986), a single platter in this size from the service was auctioned for 7,700 pounds. The decoration can be compared with the famous Duke of Gloucester Service, which has very similar fruit, scrolls and butterflies, but has a blue band at the rim rather than the double claret bands. The decorative scheme here is a bit more opulent than the decorative scheme on that renowned service.
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