A flamboyant aristocrat, an avid collector and a fabulous jewel.
Henry Cyril Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey (1875-1905), became famous for his eccentric yet short life. In fact, he died aged 29 in March 1905 and, to pursue his extravagant lifestyle, he squandered his family fortune. He amassed debts equivalent to some £60 million.
For instance, his bejewelled outfit for Henry V was said to have cost £40,000 (equivalent £4.8 million today) and his costume for Aladdin may have cost as much as £100,000 (equivalent £12 million in today’s money.)
As a consequence, the Marquess was declared bankrupt in 1904. Upon his premature death, the Great Anglesey Sale took place, in 1905. The sale sold everything – 17,000 items that ranged from jewels down to ping pong balls. A sale that lasted forty days.
The aristocrat, considered the ‘black sheep’ of the family, was a great collector, and jewels were among his favourite items.
Upon his death, Henry Cyril’s jewellery collection passed on to Charles Henry Alexander Paget, 6th Marquess of Anglesey.
The Anglesey Tiara: a Victorian masterpiece.
This jewel dates circa 1890, and it belongs to the Victorian age. It presents a graduated row of over 100 carats of old European and old-mine cut diamonds. The lower diamond row can be detached to form a beautiful necklace.
The upper part of the tiara features scroll and cluster motifs. Curved tines topped with graduated pear-shaped diamond-set motifs interlay on the diadem, to a velvet cover band.
This is a unique piece in every way. The 5th Marquess was a faboulosly extravagant character even by the standards of his day. He really was the black sheep of his very distinguished family. If jewels could talk, this tiara would have a fascinating story to tell. It was undoubtely worn by the Marquess in his productions and, later, the 6th Marchionnes of Anglesey, Lady Marjorie, was photographed wearing it by Cecil Beaton at King George VI’s coronation in 1937.Guy Burton, Hancocks London
In other words, the 6th Marquess of Anglesey left the wearing of the jewels to his wife Marjorie, who kept the unauctioned jewels for herself. Among these, the tiara itself.
The Anglesey Tiara at TEFAF Maastricht
Therefore the Anglesey Tiara has remained with the family ever since. Now Hancocks London will offer the family heirloom at the upcoming TEFAF art fair, which will take place next 7 to 15 March 2020.
The Anglesey Tiara is a jewel with history and provenance, that will surely stir collectors’ interest.
It’s a truly magnificent piece and, needless to say, jewellery of this provenance and story rarely appears on the open market so we are particularly excited to unveil it at one of the world’s most prestigious art fairs this year.Guy Burton, Hancocks London.
Together with this antique jewel, Hancocks will also present a selection of impressive gemstones and extremely rare signed jewels pieces.
Among these, jewels by Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co., Bulgari and JAR.