by Robert Jones, London 1777, of shaped-circular form, with beaded inner and outer borders, raised on three claw and ball feet, engraved with a coat of arms, diameter 17.5cm, weight 8.5oz.
Engraved with an achievement of arms for Thomas Dunckerley (1724 - 1795), the prominent Freemason.
Widely published accounts of the life of Thomas Dunckerley have recently been given critical scholarly examination both in the USA and by the British expert Anthony J Camp, lately Director of the Society of Genealogists.*
The Freemasons' Magazine (1793 and 1796) begins the biography of Thomas, son of the future George II by a servant in the house of Sir Robert Walpole, being raised by his mother. Then came his youthful enlistment in the Royal Navy as a gunner and, later, mathematics teacher. A later biographer (Sadler 1891) recounts how Dunckerley was initiated as a mason in 1754 and thence progressed to the very highest ranks, culminating in his election as Grand Master in 1791.
The nature of his parentage was said to have been revealed to Thomas late in life after his mother's death and on petitioning George III in 1767 he was allowed a royal pension of £100 rising ultimately to £800 with apartments in Hampton Court Palace.
The disparity in detail between various accounts of his life are exemplified in the coat of arms Thomas Dunckerley adopted some time before 1783. The College of Arms has no record of an alleged grant to Dunckerley of the quartered arms of George II debruised by a baton sinister for bastardy shown on the bookplate above the names "Thos. Dunckerley" and "FitzGeorge" as illustrated by Sadler.
Hitherto unrecorded is the assumption of high status heraldic supporters for the shield engraved on this salver in an artistic style that enjoyed dominating popularity in the first decade of the nineteenth century, well after Thomas Dunckerley's death.
* Camp, A (2007) Royal Mistresses and Bastards - Fact and Fiction 1714-1936 (pub. London, for private circulation)
Thomas Dunckerley was subject of a paper given by Professor Susan Mitchell Summers of St Vincent's College, Latrobe, PEN on 23 June 2011.