This distinctive plateau is a smaller version of a renowned plateau made for presentation to Sir Arthur Wellesley, duke of Wellington (1769–1852), the victor of the war against the Napoleonic armies that invaded Portugal and Spain (the Peninsular War, 1808–14). The piece was made on the order of the regent of Portugal John VI. The original Portuguese work is in Apsley House, the duke's London mansion. The pictorial composition shows the duke with some of his generals in high relief, against a background of flags and cannon smoke. The plateau is an early example of commemorative works referring to specific people or events that would become a conspicuous theme in nineteenth-century silver production.
Artist: James Cox (British, ca. 1723–1800)Date: 1766Medium: Case: gold with diamonds and paste jewels set in silver, pearls; Dial: while enamel; Movement: partly gilded brass and steel, wheel balance and cock of silver set with paste jewelsAccession: 1982.60.137On view in:Gallery 540