This very nice quality armorial Charles II silver dressing/toilet set was made in London in 1679 by Ralph Leake and consists of a large cut cornered hinged lid box and 2 smaller octagonal boxes with pull off lids, the larger box measures 10.25 inches in length by 7.75 inches wide and is almost 4 inches tall, it has 4 cast fleur de lys feet and is hallmarked inside the lid and inside the base with the makers mark only struck 4 times, the smaller boxes measure 5 1/8 inches square and are 2.75 inches tall and are fully and clearly hallmarked in the lids and bases. They each have a large coat of arms to the tops of the original family who had them made which are those of Banks impaling Dethick for Sir John Banks 1627-1699 1st Baronet, MP and Governor of the East India Company and his wife Elizabeth the daughter of Sir John Dethick Lord Mayor of London in 1656.
The Marital Arms of Banks and Dethick
The arms as engraved upon this Charles II English Sterling Silver Part Toilet/dressing Set by Ralph Leake hallmarked London 1679 are those of the family of Banks impaling Dethick. These armorial bearings denote the marshalling of a marital coat showing on the dexter (the heraldic right on the left as you view the pieces) the arms of the husband and on the sinister (the heraldic left on the right as you view it) the arms of the wife. These armorial bearings may be blazoned as follows:
(on the dexter) Sable on a cross argent between four fleurs-de-lys or five pheons azure [on a canton argent a sinister hand appaume gules*] (for Banks)
*Augmentation as a Baronet of England.
(on the sinister) Argent a fess vair or and gules between three water bougets sable (for Dethick)
These armorial bearings undoubtedly commemorate the marriage of John Banks (born 1627 baptised 19th August 1627 died 18th October 1699) and Elizabeth Dethick (died 21st October 1696). John and Elizabeth were married on the 28th November 1654 at the Parish Church of St Andrew Undercroft in the City of London (see below their marriage record). John was the eldest son of Caleb Banks, of Maidstone in the County of Kent and Martha Dann; whilst Elizabeth was the daughter of Sir John Dethick (Lord Mayor of London for the year 1656-57), of Tottenham in the County of Middlesex. Although from a minor Kentish gentry family, following his education at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, John made his way in the City of London as a merchant investing in the overseas trade with the East and with Africa. During 1677 he became was financially involved in an expedition to search for a North-East trade route. He was Governor of the East India Company between the years 1673-7. John also served as a Member of Parliament for several Kent constituencies: Maidstone 1654-1659, Winchelsea 1678, Rochester 1679-1690, Queenborough 1690-1695 and again Maidstone 1695-1698. He was created a Baronet (of Aylesford, Co. Kent) in the Baronetage of England by King Charles II on the 25th July 1661. He was also elected as a Fellow of The Royal Society in 1668. His only son Caleb followed him into Parliament again representing several Kent constituencies during his short parliamentary career. Sadly, Caleb died aged 36 in 1696. Although married he left no issue, so on his father's, Sir John's death, the baronetcy fell into extinction for want of a male heir. Sir John was survived by his two married daughters, one of whom, Elizabeth (the youngest) married Heneage Finch who in due course was created Baron Guernsey in 1703 and later advanced as the Earl of Aylesford in 1714.