Extremely rare hand-painted plate and of historic importance to Oman with the title" Prince Regent entering Muscat Cove" This plate was part of a Flight Barr & Barr royal service presented by The King of Britain to Sultan bin Said (father of princess Emily Ruete) and sent on board the yacht Prince Regent. So only one dinner set was produced!
Mr R W Binns (see ref 3) described the dinner service in his book “A Century of Potting in the City of Worcester, being the history of the Royal Porcelain Works from 1751 to 1851” published in 1865 and in 1877: "The plate is from one of the last services made by Flight & Barr and was made as a present from King William IV to the Imaum (=sultan) of Muscat. The Imaum in 1836 had sent as a present to the King a small teak battle ship of the line (Liverpool) , containing presents of an Eastern character (including several Arab horses) In return, the King (of Britain) gave a present of his royal yacht, the “Prince Regent”, which was freshly fitted out with gilding and painting and filled with presents, including musical instruments and the Flight Barr and Barr dinner service. Yachts, cots and what-nots, all gegilt and gefamed”. The Imaum is said to have been highly indignant at what he regarded as a very tawdry present of a small sailing yacht, having expected a steam vessel. The dinner service is actually of great elegance with the gilt gadrooned edge, and the green ground border, reserving the Imaum’s crest at the top and in the centre of the pieces a remarkably accurate painting of the Prince Regent entering Muscat Cove, showing the scene of the approach to the harbour with the forts on the twin rocks guarding the entry"
Above: The Illustration of the Flight, Barr & Barr plate "Prince Regent entering Muscat Cove" in the book by R.W. Binns published in 1856. The illustration matches the plate in our collection.
The ship Prince Regent entering Muscat Cove. Part of service given by the King of England to Said bin Sultan.
Princess Emily Ruete and her husband Heinrich owned one of these plates. Heinrich bought the plate in England before 1870. That plate was given to Sultan Taimur during his visit to London in 1928. The Sultan put the plate into his study at the palace in Muscat! The above text was handwritten by Rudolph Said -Ruete the son of Princess Emily Ruete (Bibi Salme). See ref 4.
The plate has some scratches in the green border, otherwise in fine condition. The back is stamped: Royal porcelain works Flight Barr & Barr Worcester Coventry St. London. It also has a mark consisting of a crown and a letter pressed into the porcelain (similar to older pieces of Worcester porcelain) . The crest of the Sultan consists of a golden crown and a red background and with 7 small crescents. Below a large golden crescent. We assume the used Crest of the Imaum / Sultan is a British invention, however we are not sure about this (for centuries Oman had a red flag as its symbol which may explain the red background to the crown and crescents. The crescents represent Islam and the chosen type of crown reflecting the importance of a Sultan compared to other noblemen in Europe. The ship Liverpool was given by the Sultan / Imaum to King William IV was sailed by Captain Cogan in 1835 from Bombay to England. The ship also had two fine Arabian horses on board as part of the present. During September 1837 it was again Captain Cogan who sailed the Yacht Prince Regent, the Kings return-present to the Sultan, to Zanzibar, the rich furnishing of the ship included the Worcester dinner service. Captain Cogan was rewarded for his good work with a sword. The sultan also gave him the title Kejan Khan (i.e. a Noble) While the official records state the Sultan was very happy with the presents (Arab politeness?), several other sources, including the adventurer/ writer Richard Burton, indicate he was very unhappy with the yacht Prince Regent.... The British have not been very successful with their presents to the Sultans of Oman and Zanzibar. Queen Victoria sent a coach to the sultan, but unfortunately Zanzibar lacked the roads to use a coach. When Oman gave the Kuria Muria islands with its very rich fertiliser (Guano) deposits to the British they gave only a golden snuff box in return. The biggest disaster happened in 1844 when queen Victoria sent a rich set of silver cutlery as a present to the Sultan of Zanzibar. When the consul in the presence of the Sultan opened the crate supposedly containing the present, it contained to their horror a gravestone! Clearly crates had been mixed up. (The gravestone was intended for a diseased wife of an African missionary) For more details see Notes of Travel by Joseph Osgood (ref 7)
Below the title on the bottom of the plate: