Years pass, but the British nobility continues to exert a charm that encourages the many television series, from Downton Abbey to The Crown. Or it manifests itself with an interest in auctions of objects and jewels linked to the English court. An example of this is the auction to be held on 24 March, at Sotheby’s, in London. The sale will offer fine pieces from two legendary families, with over 350 lots ranging from jewelry, furniture, paintings, sculptures, Chinese art, silver, ceramics and art objects.
Precious goods from the second Countess Mountbatten of Burma, great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and also great-granddaughter of the last Russian tsarina, first cousin of Prince Philip and daughter of the last viceroy of India of Great Britain, will therefore be on sale. And, as well, third cousin of Queen Elizabeth. Patricia Edwina Victoria Mountbatten, born in 1924, was known and remembered for her “unwavering perseverance and seductive sense of humor” during her lifetime in the heart of the British cultural establishment. Patricia then married John Knatchbull, seventh Lord Brabourne. She passed away in 2017.
The auction, among the many precious objects, also includes Queen Victoria’s mourning jewels. The value, in this case, is given above all by history. Always wore in black, for the death of her husband Alberto in 1861, the queen wore mourning brooches, buttons and pendants. Jewels that, in the various intersections of the family tree, have reached Countess Mountbatten. They consists of an onyx and pearl button with a miniature portrait of Princess Alice, an agate and pearl pendant with a lock of hair engraved “from grandma VR” and an enamel and diamond cross brooch, with a heart of onyx in the center with the word Alice under a crown. The fourth jewel is an agate and diamond pendant, commissioned by Prince Albert himself shortly before his death, to commemorate Queen Victoria’s mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Duchess of Kent.
In any case, the auction also offers other types of jewelry for sale. For example, a series of art deco jewels All Fruits. The style, which emulated multicolored gems from India (her father, Lord Mountbatten, was the last viceroy) had a special place in the heart of the countess. Countess Mountbatten’s necklace features a crown of carved rubies, emeralds and sapphires accented with diamonds and sapphire pearls. Also art deco is a 1929 bracelet with octagonal links in rock crystal, diamonds and emeralds for sale by Hennell, a jeweler who at the time was the British rival of Cartier and Boucheron.
Among the jewels, there are also two diamond brooches considered unisex: a Maltese diamond cross, a symbol of protection, and a circular brooch, also set with diamonds in a wave pattern. They were a gift to countess by her father, Louis Mountbatten.