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Book of Queens

This year, in celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, our stand at Masterpiece, and accompanying catalogue, will feature pieces with royal connections.  Monarchs though the centuries have influenced our nation through the Church, the Armed Forces, patronage of the arts and sciences and deep-rooted connections to many national charities.  The overwhelming majority of powerful figures through the ages - from Kings and courtiers to politicians, scientists, artists and sculptors - were men.  We are proud to highlight the distaff side of the story in this Collection.

We acknowledge Queen Mary II’s initiative in founding the Royal Naval Hospital at Greenwich with an oil painting by Frederick Winkfield showing the hospital from across a bustling River Thames with both sailing and steam ships in the foreground.  Queen Mary was queen regnant and ruled  jointly with her husband King William III until her death of smallpox at 32. On her right is Queen Adelaide, a German princess who became queen consort of King William IV.  We are offering a pair of coach panels painted with her coat of arms.  Adelaide in Australia is named after her.

Queen Victoria is represented by the silver trophy she gave to Plymouth, Devonport and Cornwall horse racing in 1845.  Her son ‘Bertie’, later King Edward VII was the husband of Queen Alexandra, a Danish princess and we have a delightful pair of bronzes of them both by Count Gleichen.  Count Gleichen was born Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg but ran away from school, and his home country, to seek his fortune in London.  As his mother was Queen Victoria's half-sister, this was not as risky as it might appear and she sponsored his entry into the Royal Navy.  After a long and celebrated career, he turned to sculpting and carried out many royal and public commissions.

 The youngest of Queen Victoria’s children was Princess Beatrice.  Unfortunately for her, Beatrice’s birth coincided with the death of Prince Albert.  Her distraught mother determined to keep ‘Baby’ by her side for ever more and consent to marriage was not forthcoming.  Eventually, after a year of discussions, Prince Henry of Battenberg persuaded the Queen to relent by agreeing to live with the royal family!  We have acquired the silver mirror given by the citizens of West Cowes as a wedding present on 23 July 1885.  Two further pieces, a ceremonial spade and a cabinet made from timber at Cowden Castle reference Queen Mary, wife of George V.  Queen Mary visited Cowden Castle because of its Japanese gardens.  Isabella ‘Ella’ Christie, a keen traveller, toured extensively throughout Europe and Asia and she took the most unusual step, at the time, of employing a female Japanese garden designer, Taki Handa, to create an authentic Japanese garden in Scotland.

Fittingly, we include no less than four portraits created by outstanding women sculptors; Anne Seymour Damer, Greta Berlin, Amy Goodman and Vivien Mallock.  Vivien Mallock has worked on many royal commissions, for three Jubilees, and we are delighted to be able to offer a portrait roundel of Her Majesty the Queen and a bust of Her Majesty the late Queen Mother.  In collaboration with Amy Goodman, Vivian has created our star piece, and the cover of our catalogue, an equestrian statuette in solid silver of our Queen Trooping the Colour on her famous horse Burmese.  Made for the Jubilee it is fully assayed with the significant marks for 2022 and weighs approximately 25 kilos.

And finally, we are preparing to send out invitations for MASTERPIECE but this year they are all being despatched by email from the Masterpiece office, specifically for this show, we are assured that your data will not be used, for any reason, outside of Masterpiece. If you are in any way uncomfortable please ask to be removed from this ticket allocation.

Taki Handa and Cowden Castle Gardens

The wonderful Japanese gardens at Cowden Castle in Scotland-frequently referred to as the best Japanese garden in the west-were created by a great partnership between two outstandingly talented and ground-breaking women, both pushing the limits of their roles in society. The first of these two women was Isabella “Ella” Christie (1861-1949), the owner of Cowden Castle, who was a pioneering adventurer, determined to push the boundaries of what was considered normal behaviour for a lady of her social class...
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Forthcoming events
Masterpiece 30 June - 6 July 2022
Chelsea Antiques & Fine Art Fair - 2nd - 6th November 2022
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