Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gifts of Grandeur: Snuff box Set with a Miniature of Princess Amelia, 1811

Snuff Box, 1811
The Royal Collection
Via The Royal Collection Trust
Crown Copyright
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Princess Amelia (1783-1810), the youngest  of King George III's and Queen Charlotte's fifteen children, is popularly thought to have been the favorite of her royal father.  George was protective of all of his daughters, but especially Amelia whom he'd nick-named "Emily."  His illness and bouts of "madness" made talk of marriage, as she grew into adulthood quite difficult.  Despite this, and her own failing health, Amelia did fall in love with an equerry who was twenty-one years her senior--The Hon. Charles FitzRoy.  Though she knew she could not marry him because of the Royal Marriages Act, and knew that news of their affair would send the King into another fit of madness, Amelia pledged her love to FitzRoy and considered herself to be his.  She even privately took the initials "A.F.R." for "Amelia FitzRoy."  

Nonetheless, life didn't afford Amelia and Charles much time together.  Her health continued to fail her.  In 1808, she contracted a severe case of the measles, and, further conditions weakened her over the next year.  By August of 1810, she was constantly suffering, and by October, she knew she was dying, going so far as to commission a mourning ring for her father.  The ring of diamonds concealed a compartment of crystal which contained a lock of her hair.   

During this period, several miniature portraits were painted of the delicate princess.  These enamel portraits were used to make small items which could be used in daily life such as this handsome snuff box.  

This circular gold, ttortoiseshell and enamel snuff box in two color gold boasts an oak leaf and acorn molding.  The lid is adorned with a miniature of Princess Amelia; a half length portrait, facing slightly to left with her head half to right.  She's wearing a white dress with a drawstring at the neck, a blue sash and a gold necklace.

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