MAGNIFICIENT BOX – FIT FOR A LADY UP FOR AUCTION At Richard Winterton Auctioneers

An important dressing case, formerly the property of Lady Augusta Shirley of Staunton Harold Estate is coming up for auction next week, (26th February).

The coromandel box was probably made by Betjemann & Sons of London as a gift to Lady Augusta Shirley (1849-1933) on the occasion of her marriage to Sir Archdale R. Palmer (1838-1906). A presentation plaque on the lid reveals it was gifted by the Tenantry of the Staunton Harold Estate and the Tradesmen of Ashby De La Zouch and Melbourne employed by the Ferrers family in 1873.

STAUNTON HAROLD DRESSING CASE

STAUNTON HAROLD DRESSING CASE

The box itself opens up to reveal the most magnificent fitted interior full of silver and silver gilt vessels and accessories that any aristocratic Victorian lady could want. Behind a mirror on the inner lid is a secret compartment for Lady Shirley’s private correspondence, (possibly love letters from Sir Palmer). The top tier is retractable to reveal a layer of fine implements of which every piece survives intact. The front panel housing three hand mirrors drops down to reveal two frieze drawers for brushes and jewels.

Such boxes were a status symbol and illustrate the immense craftsmanship that went into producing them. Along with Asprey, Betjemann of London were one of the leading suppliers of the day manufacturing some of the world’ finest objects coveted by the aristocracy and wealthy.

Adrian Rathbone, Fine Arts Manager at Richard Winterton Auctioneers of Lichfield who are handling the sale of the box comments;

‘I have handled a number of fine nineteenth century dressing cases of late, including examples by Asprey of London. To date this is the finest example I have seen. The aristocratic connection, the immaculate condition and the completeness of the contents make this an important box. The added bonus of a fully retractable top tier makes this box something really special’.

Estimated at £4,000-5,000, it comes up for public auction at Richard Winterton Auctioneers of Lichfield on Wednesday 26th February. For further details, please contact the Auctioneers on 01543 251081 or visit www.richardwinterton.co.uk

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