Bonhams London Jewels | 28 April 2021

There are a variety of illustrious Royal and Noble Jewels on Auction at the Bonhams London Jewels Sale on April 28, most notably three pendants from the collection of Margaret, Duchess of Somerset, with royal provenance, as well as two splendid bracelets from the collection of Anne, Countess of Rosse, the mother-in-law of Princess Margaret.

Bonhams London Jewels | 28 April 2021

Emerald and Pearl Bangle

Estimate: £20,000 – £30,000

From the collection of Anne, Countess of Rosse

This late 19th century Emerald, Pearl and Diamond Bangle was a great favourite of Anne, Countess of Rosse and she may be seen wearing them in many society photographs, most notably at the marriage of her son Antony Armstrong-Jones, Earl Snowdon, to Princess Margaret in 1960, most notably with the Rosse Emerald Tiara and Parure, which was sold a few decades ago, but this and the Onyx Cameo Bracelet remained in the collection of her son, the 7th Earl of Rosse, until now.

Diana Scarisbrick has written the introduction:

When I asked the Countess of Rosse what she considered the purpose of jewellery, her answer came swift and sure: “it is for the beautification of women”. She followed this precept, for the jewels in her collection certainly enhanced her own appearance which was that of a great beauty much photographed by the Royal and society favourite, Cecil Beaton. Leaving nothing to chance, she explained that before each of her many social engagements she would always take the time to plan for it well in advance. She would first choose the right outfit and then with her husband, decide whether her diamonds, her emeralds or her rubies would best suit the colour and design of the dress as well as the circumstances of the particular event.

She wore her most important jewels with one of the architectonic satin and tulle ball gowns created for her by the New York dressmaker, Charles James, and the combination made her look as majestic as the Empress Eugénie portrayed in a Charles Worth crinoline by F.X. Winterhalter, circa 1860. Similarly, when her son, Antony Armstrong-Jones, later 1st Earl of Snowdon, married Princess Margaret in May 1960 and their wedding was preceded by a ball at Buckingham Palace, she rose splendidly to the occasion. The invitations read “tiaras will be worn” and she dazzled in the Rosse family diamond and emerald parure – tiara, long earrings and necklace – with an exquisite black and white organza gown from Victor Stiebel, standing out in the brilliant crowd.

Daytime, less formal but official, events connected with the National Trust, the Georgian Group and the world of art and museums brought out her pearls and the Victorian diamond stars which she arranged so often in so many different combinations that they seemed to be part of her personality. They, like these two bracelets, evoke the period after World War 2, chronicled in the inimitable diaries of Henry “Chips” Channon, when, through her marriage to Lord Rosse in 1935, her connections with royalty and her friendships with the leading figures in the arts, she played the part of an important hostess in London and in Ireland to perfection.

Onyx, Cameo, and Pearl Bracelet

Estimate: £15,000 – £20,000

From the collection of Anne, Countess of Rosse

The Onyx Cameo, Enamel, Pearl and Diamond Bracelet Bracelet also comes from the collection of Anne, Countess of Rosse, originating from Adrian John Hope, son of Thomas Hope, the noted scholar, prominent collector, writer, and proponent of Neo-Classicism, before going to Lady Beatrice Lister Kaye (1862-1935), his great-niece and daughter of 6th Duke of Newcastle, then her daughter, Adeline de la Feld, (1881-1975), who gave it to her nephew, the 6th Earl of Rosse, when he married Anne Messel in 1935. The bracelet is a fitting marriage token: not only is the lion proffering its paw to Eros an allegory of love but during the 19th century the bracelet was the premier jewel of sentiment. Anne, Countess of Rosse was also pictured wearing the bracelt at a variety of society occasions, most notably at the marriage of her son Antony Armstrong-Jones, Earl Snowdon, to Princess Margaret in 1960.

Diana Scarisbrick continues:

In Michael Rosse she had found the ideal partner and would therefore have been particularly attached to the cameo bracelet for it was one of their wedding presents, with an interesting provenance, having previously been given by Adrian Hope to the parents of her mother-in-law on their marriage in 1880.

As the sister of Oliver Messel, the genius of British theatrical design, heiress to the estate and gardens of Nymans in Sussex, Anne Rosse had been brought up surrounded by beauty, and passed on her feeling for it to her children and grandchildren. Coming from such a cultivated milieu, she would have appreciated that, as the son of Thomas Hope of The Deepdene, famous for its Greek style interiors, Adrian shared the Hope family passion for classical art, which is reflected in his choice of a cameo inspired by an ancient Roman model. Moreover, to friends admiring the bracelet on her elegant wrist, she must have enjoyed explaining the significance of the happy scene of the mischievous little divinity playing with the lion tamed by the all-conquering power of love, so relevant to her own personal experience.

Enamel and Diamond Pendant

Estimate: £2,000 – £3,000

From Margaret (née Shaw-Stewart), Duchess of Somerset

An Enamel and Diamond Pendant, circa 1860, from the collection of Margaret, Duchess of Somerset and is accompanied by a handwritten note worded ‘Containing hair of H. M. The Empress Queen Victoria. This locket was given by her to the Duchess of Somerset while on a visit at Wimbledon Park’. This lot was inherited by the current owners from various lines – both male and female – of their family. The majority of jewels in the collection were owned by members of the Surtees family; a prominent family from County Durham whose ancestry may be traced back to William the Conqueror, whose family home was the 17th century Jacobean manor house, Redworth Hall, sold in the mid 20th century and now a luxury hotel. The three pendants with Royal connections, were owned by the Shaw Stewart family of Scotland, descended via the male line from Sir John Stewart, illegitimate son of Robert III of Scotland.

Gold and Enamel Pendant

Estimate: £1,500 – £2,000

From Margaret (née Shaw-Stewart), Duchess of Somerset

A Gold and Enamel Pendant, circa 1830, is accompanied by a handwritten note worded ‘Hair of H.M. King Charles XII of France given, in locket by him to Miss Shaw-Stewart‘, which belonged to Margaret, Duchess of Somerset, the daughter of Sir Michael Shaw-Stewart, 5th Baronet, the second wife of Edward St. Maur, 11th Duke of Somerset, and a lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria.

Rock Crystal and Diamond Pendant

Estimate: £3,000 – £4,000

From Margaret (née Shaw-Stewart), Duchess of Somerset

A Rock Crystal and Diamond Pendant that also comes from the collection of Margaret (née Shaw-Stewart), Duchess of Somerset, and is accompanied by a handwritten note worded ‘Locket with hair of H.M. Queen Victoria given by her to Margaret Duchess of Somerset‘. The Duchess was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria.

HFJCMB

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One thought on “Bonhams London Jewels | 28 April 2021

  1. The Countess of Rosse’s emerald, pearl and diamond bracelet is outstanding! Ah, wouldn’t it be nice to have a spare 30,000 or so pounds lying about! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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