A glittering aristocratic heirloom is being presented by Hancocks London at the TEFAF Maastricht Antiques Fair from today until March 15th, and we are featuring that heirloom, the Anglesey Tiara, today!
A late Victorian design, circa 1890, the Tiara features diamond-set scrolls, clusters and pear-shaped motifs with a row of European and old mine cut diamonds; the bottom row can be detached and worn as a rivière. The piece was originally commissioned by the flamboyant 5th Marquess of Anglesey, whose eccentric and extravagant habits shocked and delighted high society in the late Victorian and Edwardian era. Eventually, he was forced to auction most of his belongings and died the following year in Monaco.
The Anglesey Tiara was among the pieces retained by the family, and worn by the wife of his cousin and heir, the 6th Marchioness, born Lady Marjorie Manners, daughter of the 8th Duke of Rutland. Lady Anglesey was pictured wearing the Tiara at the 1924 State Opening of Parliament and also in a series of portraits by Cecil Beaton taken around the Coronation of King George VI in 1937.
Later, the Anglesey Tiara, and the magnificent Diamond Neglige, were pictured on the 7th Marchioness, also known as the author and writer Dame Shirley Paget, at the Coronation of the Queen in 1953. The family finances have been in decline since the days of the 5th Marquess. The main family seat of Beaudesert and the London residence were abandoned and sold after the First World War, while the Welsh seat of Plas Newydd was acquired by the National Trust in 1976. The Anglesey Tiara was acquired by Hancocks last November though it’s not clear if that’s when the piece left the family. Now you have a chance to go admire the aristocratic heirloom at TEFAF Maastricht for the next week!
The Tiara is currently on display at ‘Power & Image: Royal & Aristocratic Tiaras’ at Sotheby’s in London