Park key marked for Queen Victoria is among quirky metalware collection for sale at Bonhams04 September 2021 Green Park was opened to the public in 1826, 11 years before Victoria came to the throne.
It did not always have happy associations for her – in 1840 an attempt was made on her life on Constitution Hill which borders one side of the park.
However, according to Bonhams in Edinburgh, “the discovery among a large bunch of keys to London landmarks of a key to Green Park with VR stamped in it raises the intriguing possibility of the monarch slipping unobserved out of Buckingham Palace, across Constitution Hill and into the park, using her personal key”.
Bit of a stretch perhaps... but the key is one of the many “wonderful and fascinating objects” in The Andrew Crawforth Collection of Early Metalware and Works of Art sale in Edinburgh on September 13. Estimates range from £200 to £15,000 and all items are to be sold with no reserve.
Head of sale, Charlie Thomas, said: "The late much-admired antique dealer, Andrew Crawforth, was born near St Andrews in Scotland but spent most of his life in England. He was an acknowledged world authority on antique metalwork.
“From early on a Saturday morning, Andrew would open his stall on Portobello Market, buying and selling and sharing his unrivalled knowledge with collectors from around the world. This sale provides an opportunity to acquire pieces from Andrew’s private collection which adorned his house in Oxford.”
Here are five lots to give you a flavour of what's on offer.
Key to park
The Queen Victoria key is one of a group of 18th and 19th century keys (15 in all, pictured above) associated with famous landmarks including the lodge in 'St James' palace Gardens' and 'The secretary Meteorological office' in St James' Park (which no longer exists). They have an estimate of £1000-1500.
View the catalogue entry for the group of 18th and 19th century keys associated with famous landmarks on thesaleroom.com
A rare copper alloy candlestick from c.1400-1500 is estimated at £2000-3000. The shaft has a single discoid knop above a shallow drum base, 16cm high in all.
The Bonhams catalogue notes: “Compare with examples in Koldeweij, The English Candlestick (2001), p39, Nos 1-3, and an example sold by Christie’s, The Lear Collection of Socket Candlesticks, December 15, 1998, Lot 35.”
Bid for the copper alloy candlestick from c.1400-1500 on thesaleroom.com.
Two 18th century iron strongboxes are offered together with a large number of Victorian brass gaming counters. The strongboxes have typical elaborate locks and strapwork decoration and the counters are dated 1797 and inscribed: In memory of the good old days. They depict George III in classical attire.
View the catalogue entry for the 18th century iron strongboxes offered together with a large number of Victorian brass gaming counters on thesaleroom.com.
Collar edges it
A brass dog collar, 15cm diameter, dating from the early 19th century is estimated at £500-700. The collar has serrated edges and is engraved John Challenor Junr., Biddulph.
View the catalogue entry for the early 19th century brass dog collar.
An 18th century turned lignum vitae mortar and pestle is estimated at £1000-1500. The mortar, of circular form, with groove moulded rim and waisted body, is “unusually large at 22cm high”. The accompanying pestle has a slender baluster handle.
View the catalogue entry for the 18th century turned lignum vitae mortar and pestle on thesaleroom.com.