There was a time when a memento of locks of hair contained in a locket was the height of fashion. This week such a locket sold for £44,000, nearly ten times the original sale estimate at the Woolley and Wallis saleroom in Salisbury, Wiltshire, but then it did contain locks of hair belonging to Admiral Lord Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton. It dates from the year their affair began and before it came up for sale it was unknown to experts. It has an ‘N’ on the front for Nelson and is inscribed with the date August 1, 1798 – the first day of the Battle of the Nile.
The word locket is derived from the French word loquet, meaning a latch, but it is a perfect word for such a piece of jewellery which normally held a photo or lock of hair that was first used in the late 17th century. It was during the Victorian period that lockets reached the zenith of their popularity.
Have you sent all your Christmas cards yet? No? Me neither! Like everyone I start out with good intentions at the beginning of December but the time just runs away from me. I don't want to worry you but this time next week it's Christmas Eve! I am planning not to be running around the supermarket on Friday next, helped by the fact that I am finishing work on Wednesday.
Have you ever thought about when the first Christmas cards were sent? Well they have their origins in the 18th century when, at the end of winter term, British schoolchildren were set writing exercises. Known as ‘Christmas pieces’, these were produced on high-quality paper with engraved borders and presented to parents. These were the direct antecedents of our modern day cards. If you would like to learn more I've written a piece for BBC Homes & Antiques and you can read the article HERE
If you'd like to know even more about Christmas collectables Mark has written about them HERE and I've written on Christmas Tree pins HERE
Have I got some interesting news for you! My very good friend, and Antiques Roadshow colleague, Joanna Hardy has published details of her 2011 Master Classes. As it says on Joanna's web site. 'If you are looking for a fun, glamourous and novel way to entertain clients or spend some quality time with friends or celebrate a special occasion with your family, why not book a Jewellery Master Class." Why not indeed!
These unique master classes will guide you through the complexities of the jewellery world, through dynamic presentations and lectures, as well as teaching you how to look through a jeweller’s loupe. The classes will cover antique to contemporary jewellery, precious gemstones and the ‘king and queen’ of the gem world – the diamond and pearl. With 30 years experience in the jewellery industry including 14 years with Sotheby’s auction house, Joanna’s expert insider knowledge will open your eyes to gems and jewellery and give a new appreciation of the skill and craftsmanship required to create beautiful jewels that stand the test of time. Held in the discrete and exclusive surroundings of The Capital Hotel, Knightsbridge in London, these courses are a series of two hour, one day and three-day seminars including lunch. Joanna can also create bespoke Master Classes in your own home or place of work. These Master Classes will give you an unforgettable experience and a fascinating insight into the magical world of gems and jewels. The maximum number for a class is 14 people and bespoke one to one master classes can also be arranged. Prices on request. Due to popular demand I have put together a three day Master Class in May which will include an amazing opportunity to have a private view of Wartski's exhibition 'Japonisme: From Falize to Fabergé, The Goldsmith and Japan. Geoffrey Munn has very kindly offered to personally talk us through the pieces which will be a very special treat.
You can find out much more HERE at Joanna's lovely web site.
The royal collectables market is definitely on a roll with a two day sale of Royalty, Antiques and Fine arts at Reeman Dansie, starting tomorrow.. The auction house, in Colchester, Essex, is one of our oldest having been established in 1881.
Among the lots in the sale is this silver gilt coronet that belonged to HRH Princess Louisa Duchess of Connaught and Strathearn. It was made by Garrard & Co for Her Royal Highness for the coronation of King George V. As is so often the case sale catalogues are chock full of fascinating information and among the titbits associated with this lot were that Princess Louisa was a German Princess born in Potsdam in 1860. She married Queen Victoria`s youngest son Prince Arthur Duke of Connaught and Strathearn in 1879. Throughout their married life she accompanied her husband on many official duties in all parts of the Empire and was Viceregal Consort of Canada from 1911-1916. They lived at Bagshot Park, Surrey (currently the home of HRH Prince Edward, Duke of York) and Clarence House, London where the Duchess died prematurely at the age of 57 from influenza on 14th March 1917. She was the first member of the Royal family to be cremated and her ashes are interred at the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore.
The coronet is expected to raise £2,000 -£3,000. I must say it would be a rather nice thing to have at home.
It's Lot 17 that really caught my eye. It's a Disney breakfast set circa 1937 of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that belonged to Princess Margaret . It comprises epns cup, plate, bowl, knife, fork and spoon featuring Snow White, Dwarfs, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck - in original card box -and was originally bought at Christies sale of the Princess Margaret Collection in 2006. It is valued at between £3,000-£4,000
One of the interviews I did while I was in Canada was with the National Post and I've just been sent a link to it. You can read it HERE it's all about costume jewellery.