Stunning serpent slithers into September jewellery sale at Noonans Mayfair

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Stunning serpent slithers into September jewellery sale at Noonans Mayfair
Serpent bracelet, presented in its original case, the articulated body unusually detailed throughout with blue enamel and with an opal, diamond, and ruby set head. Photo: Noonans.

LONDON.- The sale of Jewellery, Watches, and Objects of Vertu at Noonans Mayfair on Tuesday, September 12, 2023 promises to appeal to a broad audience. The Jewellery section includes a range of fine antique pieces. Mid 19th century serpent jewels are ever popular, and this sale includes a stunning example - a serpent bracelet, presented in its original case, the articulated body unusually detailed throughout with blue enamel and with an opal, diamond, and ruby set head. The bracelet was formerly the property of Sir Charles James Napier, (1782-1853), British general and Commander-in-Chief in India, famous for conquering the Sindh province of British India, (now in present-day Pakistan). The vendor of this bracelet is of direct descent, and it is estimated to fetch £3,000-5,000.

According to the note of provenance attached to the underside of the case, Sir Charles Napier had given the bracelet to 'Grandmama Aberdare'. It had then passed down through the family to Alice Bruce, an aunt of the ultimate recipient, who had written the history on this note, as a wedding gift. ‘Grandmama Aberdare’ was Lady Nora Creina Blanche Bruce (1827- 97), second wife of the 1st Baron Aberdare (1815-95), who became Lord President of the Council and Home Secretary under Gladstone, and daughter of Sir William Napier (1785- 1860), the younger brother of Sir Charles. Both brothers fought in the Peninsular War, and both later rose to the rank of General.

While William wrote a definitive history of the Peninsular War, Charles pursued a military career, which included an appointment as Governor of Kefalonia and most famously the conquering of The Sindh Province in India as head of the British Army. Alice Bruce (1867- 1951) was the youngest daughter of the Lord and Lady Aberdare, and granddaughter of Sir William Napier. A celebrated educationalist and administrator, she served as President of Aberdare Hall in Cardiff.

Diamond rings include a 6.54 carat solitaire ring estimated at £12,000-15,000. A rare Arts and Crafts pendant by James Cromer Watt, decorated with butterflies, is estimated at £1,500-2,000 and a late Victorian suite of silver jewels, engraved with enchanting Kate Greenaway scenes, in a fitted case, is expected to reach £1,500-2,000.

Metal detectorist finds feature a late 13th/early 14th century gold, diamond and amethyst ring which carries an estimate of £4,000-6,000. The ring, with its arrangement of collets, is like a type of pewter pilgrim badge dating to the 14th-15th century, representing the five wounds of Christ. Additionally, when viewed from the side, the bezel resembles a monarch’s crown. It was discovered by a metal detectorist near Hayton, East Riding, Yorkshire. While a 4th century Roman-British gold finger ring, is decorated with spiral shoulders and expected to fetch between £2,400-3,000. This ring was discovered by a metal detectorist at Hambleton, North Yorkshire, in 2022.

Highlights from the Watches section include an unusual pink gold diamond set dial watch, by Jaeger LeCoultre, the Reverso Duet Classique, circa 2016, guided at £4,000-6,000.

The Objects of Vertu section includes a fine Private Collection of Gold Boxes. An exquisite English box, circa 1720, richly decorated throughout, with a hunting scene to the front, the reverse depicting a riverside scene of a crane wrestling a serpent, is estimated at £6,000- 8,000. A French early 19th century gold and enamel snuff box by Christian Petschler, in beautiful condition, is expected to realise £4,000-6,000 and a German gold slim cartouche- shaped box dating from the mid 19th century by Charles M. Weishaupt & Sohne of Hanau is engraved with a deer hunt and estimated at £2,200-3,000.

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