• Property from the Collection o auction at Christies

    Sale 7819

    Property from the Collection of HRH The Prince George, Duke of Kent KG, KT, and HRH Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent CI, GCVO and their families

    20 November 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 40

    A KING GEORGE II CORONATION CANOPY BELL
    A GEORGE II SILVER-GILT BELL

    MARK OF FRANCIS GARTHORNE, LONDON, CIRCA 1727, THE HANDLE CIRCA 1740

    Price Realised  

    A KING GEORGE II CORONATION CANOPY BELL
    A GEORGE II SILVER-GILT BELL
    MARK OF FRANCIS GARTHORNE, LONDON, CIRCA 1727, THE HANDLE CIRCA 1740
    The bell later engraved with a coat-of-arms and an inscription, with a suspension loop, with later baluster handle, marked on side with maker's mark only
    5¼ in. (13.2 cm.) high
    8 oz. (255 gr.)
    The arms are those of Oxenden impaling Dunch, for Sir George Oxenden 5th Bt. (1694-1775) and his wife Elizabeth, eldest daughter and eventual co-heiress of Edmund Dunch of Wittenham, co. Berkshire, whom he married in 1729. Sir George was M.P. for Sandwich, later a lord of the Admiralty (1725-7) and a lord of the Treasury (1727-37).

    The inscription reads 'This is one of the bells belonging to the Canopy yt was born over King George yeIInd at his Coronation'


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    A small group of coronation bells survive. The earlist example is thought to have been used at the coronation of King Charles II in 1660. It is unmarked but engraved with the crowned initials CR. It was offered at Christie's, London, 12 October 1966, lot 47. Two coronation bells were bequeathed to the nation by Sarah, Countess of Waldegrave (d.1873). The first is by Francis Garthorne, the maker of the present bell, and is hallmarked for 1714/15. However, it is engraved 'George 2nd 1727'. It has been suggested that it was first used at the coronation of King George I in 1714 and re-used at the coronation of his son in 1727. The collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum also includes bells used at the coronation of King George III in 1761 and King George IV in 1821, the latter also having been bequeathed by Lady Waldegrave. One other bell, used at the coronation of King George II is known and is illustrated in M. Clayton, The Collectors Dictionary of the Silver and Gold of Great Britain and North America, Woodbridge, 1971, p. 34, fig. 33b. Other coronation perquisites survive. The silk canopy from King George II's coronation was acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1975. The magnificent gold brocade lined with silver tabby was supplied by George Binckes of Covent Garden.

    At the coronation of King George II held on the 11 October 1727 the Canopy of State was carried by the members of parliament of the Cinque Ports and it was in his position as M.P. for Sandwich that Sir George Oxenden was appointed as a canopy bearer. This right is traditionally held to have been established during the reign of King Edward I (1272-1307) as cited by T. Mantel in his Coronation Ceremonies and Customs, relative to the Barons of the Cinque Ports as Supports of the Canopy, Dover, 1820. Mantel records the correspondence that took place between Lionel, Duke of Dorset as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and the Mayors and Councils of Hastings, Sandwich, Dover, Hythe, Rye and Winchelsea regarding the selection of the canopy bearers for the coronation of King George III in 1761.

    The traditional perquisites were claimed by the canopy bearers prior to the coronation in a letter to the Crown Clerks,

    'At the Coronation of every King and Queen of England, and Queen Consort, to support, upon four silver staves, a canopy of gold or purple silk, having four corners, and at each corner a silver bell, gilt with gold ; four of such Barons to be appointed to each stave, and to have and take the said canopy staves, and bells, as their fees for the said services ; and also to dine, on the day of the Coronation, at a table on the King's right hand, at his palace at Westminster, and likewise to have cloth for vestments at His Majesty's expence.'

    These claims were accepted by the crown with the exception of the need for 'cloth for vestments at His Majesty's expence' T.Mantel, op. cit., p.13-14.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Presented to Sir George Oxenden 5th Bt. (1694-1775) as a perquisite for his role as canopy bearer at the coronation of King George II in 1727.
    Herbert Hall Mulliner (1861-1924)
    Colonel H. H. Mulliner +; Christie's, London, 9 July 1924, lot 34, as by Richard Gines [£65 to Webster]
    Percival Davis Griffiths F.S.A. (1862-1938).


    Literature

    H. H. Mulliner, The Decorative Arts in England, 1660-1780, London, 1923, fig. 130.


    Exhibited

    London, 25 Park Lane, W. 1., Loan Exhibition of Old English Plate, 1929, no. 255, (Catalogue, pl. LXV ), property of Percival D.
    Griffiths.