Bayreuth: A Remarkable Collection of English Silver and Gold Boxes at Christie’s

In a grand event set to take place in July, Christie’s, the renowned auction house, will present a remarkable collection called Bayreuth: A Connoisseur’s Collection of English Silver and Gold Boxes.

The collection comprises a total of eight lots showcased in The Exceptional Sale, along with a separate private collection sale featuring 201 lots. These auctions, scheduled for the 6th and 7th of July respectively, will serve as the highlights of Classic Week in London. The Bayreuth Collection is a testament to the collector’s passion, spanning over four decades. Its creation has been guided by a philosophy of excellence, focusing on aspects such as quality, condition, provenance, rarity, and even novelty.

Harry Williams-Bulkeley, Christie’s International Head of Silver, commented: “This collection presents the market with an extraordinary selection of the very best silver and gold boxes sold in London, New York and Geneva over the last 30 years. It has been formed under the disciplined and passionate eye of a collector with boundless energy and enthusiasm, allied with a scholarly curiosity to delve deeper into specialised fields. It is a reflection of true connoisseurship in its most enriching form. It is evident that behind the collection there is an innate understanding of the imagination and the creative skill of the craftsman, and an erudite appreciation of its ownership, from celebrated collectors and great country houses including Chatsworth, Belvoir Castle, and Stowe House.”

The Captivating Pendant and Queen Charlotte’s Medallion

One exceptional piece in the Bayreuth Collection is a mesmerizing pendant that incorporates a rare medallion commissioned by Queen Charlotte (1744-1818). This unique pendant holds historical significance as it was gifted by Queen Charlotte to close friends who remained loyal during King George III’s illness, symbolizing the celebration of the King’s ‘recovery’ in 1789.

Bayreuth: A Remarkable Collection of English Silver and Gold Boxes at Christie's
The George III Pendant
(Estimate: £3,000-5,000)

The medallion pendant, estimated to be valued between £3,000 and £5,000, showcases the craftsmanship of the time. It serves as a testament to the love and admiration Queen Charlotte had for her husband. Visitors will have the opportunity to witness this extraordinary piece and many others from the collection during the public viewing from the 1st to the 6th of July in London.

The Significance of King George III’s Recovery

Queen Charlotte’s announcement regarding King George III’s recovery was met with widespread jubilation. Parliament expressed their congratulations to the King on 10th March, which also coincides with the date engraved on the medallion. Queen Charlotte presented the medallion to the King on 19th March 1789, signifying the joyous occasion. Over time, the medallion was transformed into a locket pendant, adorned with an enamelled crown and embellished with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds.

It is worth noting that King George III was later diagnosed with porphyria, a condition that impacted his reign. The medallion, now in the form of a locket pendant, will be available for sale during the Collection auction on 7th July, with an estimated value of £3,000 to £5,000. A similar unmounted medallion is depicted in G. de Bellaigue’s article, ‘Huzza the King Is Well!’, published in The Burlington Magazine.

Highlights from The Bayreuth Trust in The Exceptional Sale

Bayreuth: A Remarkable Collection of English Silver and Gold Boxes at Christie's
Set Of Four George II Silver Two-light Candelabra
(Estimate between £150,000 and £250,000)

The Exceptional Sale, set to occur on 6th July, will feature eight impressive lots from The Bayreuth Trust. Leading the collection are four exquisite George II silver two-light candelabra, bearing the mark of George Wickes, London, 1733. These exceptional pieces are estimated to be valued between £150,000 and £250,000.

Additionally, the auction will showcase an important Charles II silver-gilt toilet service, dating back to around 1670 and marked as unattributed. This magnificent piece, estimated at £100,000 to £150,000, stands as a testament to the craftsmanship of the era.

Bayreuth: A Remarkable Collection of English Silver and Gold Boxes at Christie's
Important Charles Ii Silver-gilt Toilet Service

Another noteworthy inclusion in The Exceptional Sale is a set of twenty-four George I silver dinner plates from the renowned Winnington Service, marked by Robert Cooper, London, 1719. These plates, highly sought after by collectors, are estimated to be valued between £70,000 and £100,000.

Freedom Boxes and George III’s Enamelled Gold Box

The Bayreuth Collection also boasts an impressive selection of Freedom boxes. Among them is a George III enamelled two-colour gold freedom box, carrying the mark of James Morisset, London, 1797. This exquisite piece, estimated to be worth £70,000 to £100,000, holds a special place within the collection. It is presented alongside other prestigious gifts awarded to Vice Admiral and Third in Command, the Hon. William Waldegrave, on 1st June 1797 for his commendable role in the Battle of St. Vincent.

Bayreuth: A Remarkable Collection of English Silver and Gold Boxes at Christie's
George Iii Enamelled Two-colour Gold Freedom Box


Christie’s forthcoming Bayreuth: A Connoisseur’s Collection of English Silver and Gold Boxes auctions, to be held in July, will undoubtedly captivate collectors and enthusiasts alike. With an assortment of exceptional lots, ranging from George II candelabra to Charles II toilet service, the collection exemplifies the highest standards of quality and artistry.

The inclusion of historical pieces, such as Queen Charlotte’s medallion pendant, adds a touch of intrigue and sentiment to the collection. The public viewing from 1st to 6th July will offer a unique opportunity to witness these remarkable pieces before they find their new homes. As the gavel falls, it will mark the end of an era for the Bayreuth Collection and the beginning of a new chapter for those fortunate enough to acquire these treasures of English silver and gold boxes.

Images: Christie’s