1. The Vegetable Dish and Cover 1808, by Paul Storr
One of a pair, this dish forms part of the large collection of Regency silver from the estate of the sixth Marquess of Ormonde. Accepted in lieu of capital transfer tax by HM Treasury and allocated to the Bowes Museum in 1982.
2. The Cleveland Cup 1840
Won by John Bowes’ horse Hetman Platoff , one side of the cup is engraved ‘The Earl of Uxbridge’ and underneath ‘Lord George Bentinck’, bracketed together as ‘Stewards’. The other side is inscribed ‘Wolverhampton Races 1840.’
3. Spice Box, London 1610
Such an object was considered a great luxury in Jacobean England, a special container for expensive spices imported from the east. Note the latch for a tiny padlock or fastener on the lid! It is marked with the London date letter for 1610 and the makers mark ‘TT’ above a star, which is no longer identifiable as the records of the goldsmiths company were burnt in the Great Fire of London 1666. It also bares the later monogram of the Earl of Roseberry It was purchased by the Museum in 1977.
4. Mouse Automaton 1818
Bought by Joséphine in London on the 12th May 1871 when the couple were sheltering from the siege of Paris, the item may have had a special significance for them, as John called Joséphine ‘puss’. Decorated with gold, pearls, enamel and garnet eyes, the mouse is worked by clockwork and runs around, stops, and twitches its whiskers before continuing its journey.
5. John Bowes’ Watch with Chain and Sealsc. 1860, French, maker Le Roy et Fils, Paris
This gold watch chain carries an amethyst seal cut with a sheaf of arrows surmounted by a buckled belt, carrying the Bowes family motto ‘sans variance terme de vie’, steadfast unto the end. The Bowes family originally headed a company of bowmen and archers in the service of William the Conqueror at Bowes castle .The Bowes coat of arms bears three long bows and a sheaf of six arrows. A gold cube set with garnets, as markings on a dice, is possibly a reference to the Streatlam stud.
6. Lady’s Watch and Pearled Chainc. 1810, French, maker Charles Oudin, Paris
This is possibly the watch acquired by Joséphine Bowes from the dealer Mme Lepautre in 1868, described as a ‘little watch - gold and fine pearls 55 francs’. Following John Bowes’ death in 1885, the Trustees of The Bowes Museum attempted to recover items in Paris destined for the museum, this included ‘a very small watch for the neck with a gold chain and pearls, 500 francs’
7. Fountain Mask
Gilt bronze grotesque fountain mask of a River God from the home of Philip d’Orleans, brother of Louis XIV Purchased in 1966 in memory of Tony Ellis (late Deputy Museums Director)
8. Napoleon III Snuff Box c.1850
Strawberry coloured enamel, diamond studded N’s and an imperial crown are all features of this presentation snuff box of Napoleon III. The inside rim of the box is signed; ‘G. Lemonnier Joullier de la Couronne Place Vendome No.25.’ Gabriel Lemonnier became famous after showing his wares at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851; he was particularly noted for two parures made for Queen Isabella II of Spain. He was awarded the ‘Medal of the Council’, the highest award, and after the exhibition was made a chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur by the Prince - President, and when the Empire was revived 31 May 1853 he was made jeweller to the crown
9. Saint Sebastian c.1523 Spanish
This object depicts Saint Sebastian left for dead. Persecuted by the Romans, Diocletian sentenced Sebastian to death by arrows for attempting to convert Romans to Christianity. Miraculously the arrows did not kill Sebastian and he was nursed back to health, however Diocletian did manage to kill Sebastian c.288 by clubbing him to death.Sebastian’s hair is gilt as are the arrow-head and the column is engraved with acanthus leaf ornament. The foot is engraved with the date 1523.
10. Sappho, Ancient Greek writer of lyric poetry 1848, James Pradier 1792-1852 French
Cast in solid silver, the standing Sappho is the most famous example of a series of sensual Antique women which Pradier created in the neo-classical style during the 1840’s. The elegant statue represents Sappho as poetess and brooding lover. The scroll is inscribed in Greek with the last stanza of her ‘Ode to Aphrodite’.