A Diamond Pendant from the Duke of Wellington at the Heart of Dreweatts' Sale

Dreweatts’ sale of Fine Jewellery, Watches, Silver and Objects of Vertu on 8th June is one of its ‘show case’ sales which attracts considerable international curiosity from private as well as trade buyers. There is live internet and telephone bidding as well as the traditional presence.

There has been a great resurgence of interest in period jewellery and especially good quality classical Victorian and Edwardian pieces,’ remarked James Nicholson, Dreweatts’ International Head of Department. ‘Two of the most eye-catching items in the sale are from the mid and late Victorian era - both were gifts, one from Queen Victoria herself and the other from the Duke of Wellington or the ‘Unprecedented Hero’ as he was known.

Our own royal wedding last month has reawakened interest in the royal family all over the world and we’re delighted to be offering a handsome Victorian enamel presentation bangle.’

Lady Ismay Catherine Southampton (née Nugent) was the second wife of 3rd Baron Southampton, Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria from 1878 until the Queen’s death in 1901 as well as a trusted and loyal friend to Queen Victoria's fifth daughter Princess Helena (Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein). This handsome bangle has an unusually intimate dedication: ‘To Lady Southampton from her affectionate VR February 1879,’ a central enamel portrait of Queen Victoria in profile with a dark blue surround, applied with aluminium entwined branches, a red enamel crown above the portrait and an English rose and a Scottish thistle at either side. The enamel plaque is signed ‘Queen Victoria painted by WC Bell 1879’. Estimated £2,000-3,000 the bangle comes to the market by family descent (lot 277).

The other striking piece of Victorian jewellery is also a gift, a very attractive emerald and diamond heart shaped locket pendant dated 1851 (lot 273), inscribed on the reverse ‘Given to Mary Marchioness of Salisbury by Arthur Duke of Wellington 1851.’ The pendant, estimated £3,000-5,000 consists of a central square cut emerald mounted within a pave set surround of cushion shaped old brilliant cut diamonds (approximately 3.00 carats in total), with a glazed locket on the reverse.

Mary Stanley, Countess of Derby who later became a grande dame of society and politician manqué, is best remembered for her friendship with the Duke of Wellington to whom she had been introduced as a little girl by her father George Sackville West. The Duke became a pivotal figure in her life and they remained in constant contact, writing to each other right up to Wellington’s death in 1852. In one of his letters he reminds her of his triumphal entry into Cambridge... ‘I perfectly recollect your standing on my knee in the open carriage and your delight with the cheers of the mob and the horses of the yeomanry galloping about the carriage...

She regarded him as her ‘Guide, Philosopher and Friend’ making him godfather to each of her children and even naming her daughter Mary Arthur, after him! After his death she used to say: ‘It is to the Duke that I owe the best of all the good I have learnt, and in especial forgiveness of injuries.’

Mary Stanley married twice, becoming the Marchioness of Salisbury and later the Countess of Derby. The emerald and diamond pendant at Dreweatts is a charming token of their long friendship.

Amongst the other handsome pieces of jewellery in the sale is the Regency gold, emerald, pink topaz and foiled stone parure of circa 1820 (lot 250). Composed of gold wirework tubular strands with cannetille bows, it is estimated £5,000-7,000.

Pocket watches and wrist watches also form part of the sale; a particularly handsome silver triple cased pocket watch made by Edward Prior for the Turkish market, with an outer tortoiseshell pique case and ‘Turkish’ numerals and hallmarked London 1855 is expected to fetch £2,000-3,000 (lot 144). Striking in its elegant simplicity is lot 167, the James Dallas and William Russell 18 carat gold open faced repeater chronometer pocket watch, hallmarked London 1814 and which is estimated £3,000-4,000.

There is also a wide selection of contemporary wristwatches such as the 18 carat gold gentleman’s Rolex GMT Master II estimated £5,000-7,000 (lot 222); for those with more modest pockets there good examples of Rolex, Tag Heuer and Cartier amongst others, with estimates starting from £100 upwards. As always, Dreweatts offers something for everyone.

Free live online bidding for this sale: www.the-saleroom.com (there is no surcharge for using this service) or www.invaluable.com (there is a 3% surcharge for using this service).

To view the sale catalogue online, please click here

For further press information please contact Vanessa Clewes Salmon: press@dnfa.com

For further information on the sale, please call Dreweatts’ Donnington Priory Salerooms on 01635 553553 or email donnington@dnfa.com

Dreweatts - 31 May 2011