A 234 year old diamond, ruby and emerald crowned medallion/locket, containing locks of both King George III and Queen Charlotte’s hair, will be offered at auction during Christie’s Classic Week in London, June 30th – July 14. This unique piece is one of 201 lots in the collection, Bayreuth: A Connoisseur’s Collection of English Silver and Gold Boxes, heading to sale on July 7th.
Described as a ‘Recovery From Illness’ medallion, the front is enameled in white, red and blue within a gold rim, worked to resemble a serpent. The piece is surmounted by an enameled crown, set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds, with a hinged suspension loop. The reverse holds a glazed compartment with circular locks of hair from the king and queen within enameled rims.
Queen Charlotte commissioned the original medallion to commemorate King George’s recovery from illness in March of 1789. Parliament expressed their congratulations to the king through public addresses and the queen presented the medallion to loyal and supportive friends who had stood by the royal family during the king’s illness. The king’s illness was later identified as porphyria. The king’s symptoms would come and go, and announcements by that he had recovered after periods of illness were regularly met with celebrations across Britain. The medallion became a locket after the deaths of Queen Charlotte and King George III, in 1818 and 1820 respectively. View the lot.