Monday, May 20, 2013

Gifts of Grandeur: King George V's Tortoiseshell Box, c. 1910

Box of Tortoiseshell, silver gilt and a rose-cut diamond.
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

When we think about the Royal Collection, especially from the period after the reign of Edward VII, those familiar with the provenance of most of the pieces therein, immediately think of Queen Mary, the ultimate collector.  However, Mary wasn't the only crowned head from 1910-1936 with an eye for attractive objects.  Her husband, King George V also had a knack for collecting handsome antiquities, treasures, and contemporary works.

This masculine box of tortoiseshell, gilt silver and a single rose-cut diamond dates to the early Twentieth Century and was made specifically for His Majesty George V and fits perfectly with his personal collection of simple, elegant pieces.  The polished lid is rimmed with gilt mounts set with a relief of berried laurels.  When the lid is removed, the gilded interior shows an engraved, crowned cypher--GVR.

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