A historic Eastern Woodlands gorget

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Lot 1001
A historic Eastern Woodlands gorget

US$ 8,000 - 12,000
£ 5,900 - 8,800
A historic Eastern Woodlands gorget
A George III officer's gorget of bowed U-form, repoussed floral motifs on the tapering and pierced ends, engraved with the British coat of arms: a heraldic shield, flanked by a rampant lion and a unicorn, the initials "G R" (George Rex) at top, "honi soit qui mal y pense" (roughly "Shame upon he who thinks evil of it") around the shield, and "Dieu et mon droit" ("God and my right") upon an underlying garter, the whole suspended from a hide strap.
length 5 3/4in

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    A tag affixed to the rear of the gorget reads: "Arthur Speyer Collection, formerly in the collection of Sir John Caldwell. circa 1780" A single large letter "W" has also been etched into the reverse; Antoine Tzapoff, Paris

    Arthur Speyer (1894-1958) of Hamburg, Germany, was an inveterate collector of ethnographica. During his lifetime and with the help of his son, Arthur Jr., the family gathered an incredible array of 18th and 19th century Native American art and artifacts. See Brasser, Ted J., 1976, p. 2. In an introduction to Bou'jou Neejee! the exhibition (and catalogue) of which the Speyer Collection made up many of the items shown, the author describes the cover plate: "A portrait of Sir John Caldwell, fifth baronet of Castle Caldwell, in Fermanagh, Ireland. He served in North America from 1774 to 1780 as an officer in the King's Eight Regiment of Foot, stationed at Fort Niagara and Fort Detroit. During his period he was elected chief of the Ojibwa Indians, who gave him the name Apatto, or Runner. After his return to Ireland, an unknown artist painted Caldwell dressed in Indian finery he brought back from North America. Most of these Caldwell artifacts were acquired by Arthur Speyer Jr., and ultimately by the National Museum of Man when it bought the Speyer collection." A brass gorget worn around Caldwell's neck in that portrait may well be the present lot. The Canadian Museum of History, in Ottawa, (formerly the National Museum of Man) retains the triple set of silver gorgets as seen in the Caldwell depiction but the topmost and most prestigious brass gorget was, apparently, not part of the collection the Museum acquired.

    Ill:
    Maxwell, Michael, 2002, p. 16
Contacts
A historic Eastern Woodlands gorget
A historic Eastern Woodlands gorget
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