Dame Vera Lynn Jewellery to be Sold in Aid of Charity

A number of pieces of Dame Vera Lynn’s jewellery are to be sold by auction in aid of charity at Toovey’s Washington salerooms in West Sussex on Wednesday 16th March 2022.

Over many years I have admired and supported Dame Vera Lynn and the the work of her Charitable Trust.

During the Second World War Dame Vera was known as the Forces Sweetheart, a singer of undoubtable talent she became an icon of hope in the face of the sometimes seemingly insurmountable challenges of the Second World War.

In recent days there has been an almost tangible, sharp, intake of breath across a world shocked by Vladimir Putin’s actions. Against the backdrop of courageous protests in his own country Putin has brought his will and the Russian military machine to bear on Ukraine and her people waging war in Europe.

Dame Vera Lynn was always outward facing and generous using her gifts to make a difference to people’s lives, especially in the communities she was passionate about – those who served their country bravely in our Armed Forces, children with disabilities, and of course more recently those she described as ‘the silent soldiers’ in our marvellous NHS. It was a generous example.

It is that ability to press on, to do what is right in the service of others where we stand that gives dignity and purpose to our lives whether our inspiration is sacred or secular. And the more of us who actively choose this path the more evil is pushed back and hope is restored.

Dame Vera Lynn’s large diamond set heart shaped pendant locket being sold to benefit the Dame Vera Lynn Charitable Trust

The heart remains one of the definitive symbols of love and amongst the items entered for sale from the collection is a large late Victorian diamond set heart shaped pendant locket pavé set with old cut diamonds. It was during the Victorian period that the popularity of heart shaped jewellery really reached its heights influenced by the tastes of Queen Victoria. Dame Vera’s locket is a fine example. The smaller diamonds accentuate the principle stone at its centre within a shimmering field. The back is glazed and hinged with a locket compartment. It carries a pre-sale estimate of £7000-£10000.

Alongside the pendant locket are a number of rings, bracelets, necklaces and brooches from her collection.

Dame Vera Lynn and her husband Harry Lewis

Speaking to Vera Lynn’s daughter, Ginny, about the sale she said “Mummy’s jewellery reflected points of love in her life. Her charitable work was very precious to her too, so it is very fitting that the pieces of jewellery we have entered for auction at Toovey’s will benefit the Dame Vera Lynn Charitable Trust.” Through her life, work and the legacy of the Dame Vera Lynn Charitable Trust Vera Lynn remains an icon of hope.

To be notified as soon as the illustrated online catalogue goes live this weekend register at www.tooveys.com/auction-alerts or visit www.tooveys.com/online-catalogue.

“There is a Joy to Tin Glazed Delft Ware”

A Queen Anne English Delft charger decorated in the Chinese Transitional taste.

Tin glazed earthenware describes the method of decorating fine quality pottery using a technique first developed in Baghdad in the 9th century. In an attempt to rival the glossy whiteness of Chinese porcelain the earthenware was covered with an opaque white glaze.

The technique entered Europe through Spain which was under the rule of the Umayyad Muslim caliphate. Tin glazed earthenware arrived in Italy from Spain in the first half of the 13th century. From Italy the method spread throughout Europe.

The technique remained relatively unchanged into the 18th century. After the pottery has been fired it emerges from the kiln as a brownish earthenware. It is then dipped in a glaze made up of oxides of lead and tin combined with silicate of potash. This porous white coat can then be decorated with various metallic oxides, capable of withstanding the high-temperatures of the kiln needed to unite them with the tin glaze and fuse it to the surface of the clay. Blue comes from cobalt, green from copper, purple from manganese, yellow from antimony and orange from iron.

The colours are absorbed into the glaze as soon as they are applied. No corrections to the painted design is possible. Many art historians liken the process to that of fresco wall painting, rare Saxon examples of which are to be found in a number of Sussex churches. Once decorated the vessel is then given a second firing. This fixes the glaze to the object’s body and melts it to a glossy surface. Lead glaze is commonly applied before firing to enhance the finish.

Tin glazed earthenware is often known as delft. The name derives from the Dutch town of Delft which by the mid-17th century had become the most important centre for the manufacture of tin glazed earthenware.

An 18th century Dutch Delft tin glazed, tulip filled vase.

Many of my favourite examples of tin glazed delft are those from the 18th century made in the British Isles. Like the Dutch tulip filled vase they are frequently stylistically influenced by the Chinese imported porcelain of the same date.

The decoration of Chinese Transitional Period porcelain typically employs naturalistic themes depicting, beasts, flowers and most especially figure subjects. Figure subjects on Transitional wares are often united by a narrative following the traditions of Chinese opera as well as literary art forms.

The early 18th century Queen Anne English delft charger beautifully imitates these Chinese decorative motifs.

The finest examples of delft tin glazed earthenware realise tens of thousands of pounds but examples like these can still be bought at auction for low to mid-hundreds of pounds. They have a delightful provincial quality. Whilst their decoration often reflects the regions in which they were made they connect the collector with the international stylistic influences of their time. There is a joy to tin glazed delft ware. Perhaps it is time you discovered the delights of collecting tin glazed earthenware!

Jewellery: A Valentine’s Expression of Love

This week we celebrated Valentine’s Day and thoughts will have turned to jewellery as an expression of love.

Amongst current must have jewels are brooches. Over many years brooches fell from fashion but in recent times they have enjoyed a remarkable revival with rising demand and prices.

All the brooches here were sold at Toovey’s and entries are still being accepted for the next sale of fine jewellery on 16th March 2022.

My favourite of all the brooches I have seen in recent times was the beautifully contrived varicoloured, naturalistic pearl and diamond vine leaf spray brooch which made £4200. Pearls and half pearls became highly prized for their delicate sheen which perfectly suited the pale colours and the soft silks of the dresses of the 1890s. The fashion for pearls was widespread across Europe and women wore brooches with pearls and sprays of diamonds in various designs.

In the second half of the 19th century the jewellery industry flourished in England. Queen Victoria became an important influence on fashion. Her jewels, in particular, were carefully copied by the Court and broader Victorian society. Intimate, sentimental jewellery was greatly favoured and worn in abundance.

From the 1860s through to the 1880s the fashion for Greek, Etruscan, and Egyptian art influenced jewellery production not only in shape but also in design. Engraving and tracing disappeared in favour of contrasts between shiny and matt surfaces encrusted with filigree and granulation as can be seen in the decoration of the oval, gold brooch with its central scarab beetle motif in the Egyptian taste. It realised £1300.

From the 1860s stars were amongst the most common decorative motifs. Many lockets, brooches and bracelets had a pearl, diamond or enamel star at their centre as can be seen in the classical revival turquoise enamel and diamond set brooch which fetched £2400.

In the 1890s ladies’ fashion changed and sought to enhance rather than alter a woman’s natural figure. This new fashion brought with it yards of flimsy materials such as laces and tulle, draped and ruched on the bodice. Jewellery, and brooches in particular, had to adapt to the new fashion and became lighter and smaller as a result. Small, light, diamond set star brooches appeared in large numbers to decorate the bodices of fashionable women like the one seen here which sold for £2400.

Brooches are again at the height of fashion and jewellery is a booming area for collectors, and of course remains an expression of love at Valentines.

Lost Work by George Romney Discovered in West Sussex

Toovey’s Fine Art consultant, Tim Williams, with the re-discovered portrait of Lady Laetitia Beauchamp-Proctor by the important English artist George Romney

A lost work by the important English artist George Romney (1734-1802) has been newly re-discovered in West Sussex by Toovey’s Fine Art consultant Tim Williams. Romney was the most fashionable artist of his day and this portrait is to be auctioned at Toovey’s with an estimate of £8000-£12000 on 16th February.

The painting has been in the vendor’s family since the day it was painted, the sitter being a direct ancestor of the owner’s late husband. It is not recorded why but the painting had been previously attributed to Angelica Kauffman sometime before 1915. At that time it was in the possession of Rev Sydney C. Beauchamp. A letter written in 1915 by Rev Beauchamp describes that he had fallen on hard times and was prepared to sell the painting to his cousins for £50 on the proviso that he had the option to buy it back if his fortunes improved. Evidently his fortunes did not improve and the painting has remained in his cousin’s family until now.

Toovey’s Fine Art consultant Tim Williams says ‘I was immediately struck by the quality of the painting when I saw it at the client’s home. I thought it had some compositional similarities to Kauffman’s work, but my gut reaction was that it was by George Romney. I initially contacted the notable Kauffman scholar Dr Professor Wendy Wassyng Roworth who felt the treatment of the subject wasn’t quite right for Kauffman and also suggested Romney as the artist. I wrote to Alex Kidson, the leading authority on Romney, who confirmed that it was indeed by Romney and there was a considerable amount of supporting evidence. The date it was executed was recorded in Romney’s ledgers, as well as the cost of framing. It had been included in Alex Kidson’s scholarly catalogue raisonné of the artist but its whereabouts were unknown and the sitter’s identity was conflated with that of her sister. Alex had never seen an image of the portrait and was as excited as me about its re-discovery. It is rare to have such comprehensive provenance for a portrait of this date.’

George Romney – Portrait of Lady Laetitia Beauchamp-Proctor, oil on canvas, circa 1780

Tim explains how the portrait of Lady Laetitia Beauchamp-Proctor, née Johnson, had originally hung at her sister’s home, Langley Park in Norfolk. It is possible that the same picture is recorded hanging in her brother in law, Sir Thomas Beauchamp-Proctor’s drawing room in 1829 as noted in John Chamber’s ‘A General History of the County of Norfolk’ which was published in 1829 by John Stacy in London.

George Romney recorded Lady Beauchamp-Proctor’s seven sittings between 20th July and 16th August 1780, and the 18 guinea fee was paid to the artist on 5th May 1781. It was sent to Thomas Allwood for framing and is recorded in his framing book as ‘an oval 3/4 at a price of £2 12s 6d for Lady Beauchamp Proctor’.

Tim Williams concludes excitedly ‘This is the first time that this portrait has ever appeared on the market – almost unheard of for a 242 year old painting.’

View the lot here.

The Queen’s 70th Anniversary of Her Accession

Her Majesty The Queen on tour with HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is at Sandringham, her Norfolk estate, where she traditionally marks her father’s death on the 6th February. This year the day will mark the 70th Anniversary of her Accession.

Elizabeth and her father, George VI, had a special bond so this is always a particularly poignant day especially without Prince Philip. The Queen on the occasion of their Golden Wedding Anniversary said that Prince Philip “has quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years.”

The Queen’s husband HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh had been given his first command of the sloop HMS Magpie in 1950. In 1951 he took leave from the Royal Navy to support his wife as the King’s deteriorating health meant increasing Royal duties. In the October of 1951 the couple had set out on a highly successful tour of Canada and Washington DC. After Christmas in the January of 1952 Princess Elizabeth and the Duke embarked on a tour of Australia and New Zealand via Kenya.

King George VI died in the early hours of the 6th February 1952. The news was broken to her at Treetops in Kenya as she was proclaimed Queen Elizabeth II in London and around the world.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen returned from Kenya and met with the Accession Council at 10am on Friday 8th February at St James’ Palace in order that they could receive her oath to uphold the protestant religion, defend the Church of Scotland and pledge to always work to uphold constitutional government and to advance the happiness and prosperity of all her peoples.

The Queen’s Christian faith has been one of the cornerstones of her life and reign. It has informed her sense of calling to the role of monarch and the qualities of service, respect and duty through which she has blessed us all.
Throughout her long reign the Queen and her family have been at the heart of the nation and the Commonwealth. She has been bound up not only with the life of the nation but with our own lives as individuals. Together we have shared her joys and sorrows as she has shared ours. Together, here in Sussex and across the United Kingdom, we hold The Queen and her family in our hearts and our prayers giving thanks for her long reign.