Heavy Metal
The Andrew Crawforth Collection of Early Metalware at Bonhams Edinburgh

Edinburgh – It's hard to imagine Queen Victoria doing too much by herself, surrounded as she was by armies of servants catering to her needs and accompanying her every move. So, the discovery among a large bunch of keys to London landmarks of a key to Green Park with V.R. stamped in it raises the intriguing possibility of the Monarch slipping unobserved out of Buckingham Palace, across Constitution Hill and into the park, using her personal key. The key is one of the many wonderful and fascinating objects in The Andrew Crawforth Collection of Early Metalware and Works of Art sale in Edinburgh on Monday 13 September. Estimates range from £200 to £15,000 and all items are to be sold at no reserve.

Green Park was opened to the public in 1826, 11 years before Victoria came to the throne. It did not always have happy associations for her – in 1840 an attempt was made on her life on Constitution Hill which borders one side of the park. The Queen Victoria key is one of a group of 18th and 19th century keys (15 in all) associated with famous landmarks including the lodge in 'St. James' palace Gardens' and 'The secretary Meteorological office' in St James' Park (which no longer exists). They have an estimate of £1,000-1,500.

Head of Sale, Charlie Thomas, said: "The late much-admired antique dealer, Andrew Crawforth was born near St Andrews in Scotland but spent most of his life in England. He was an acknowledged world authority on antique metalwork. From early on a Saturday morning, Andrew would open his stall on Portobello Market, buying and selling and sharing his unrivalled knowledge with collectors from around the world. This sale provides an opportunity to acquire pieces from Andrew's private collection which adorned his house in Oxford."

Other highlights include:

• Two 18th century iron strongboxes together with a large number of Victorian brass gaming counters. The strongboxes have typical elaborate locks and strapwork decoration and the counters are dated 1797 and inscribed: 'In memory of the good old days'. They depict George III in classical attire. Estimate: £500-700.

• A brass dog collar. Dating from the early 19th century, the collar has serrated edges and is engraved 'John Challenor Junr., Biddulph', (the latter being the name of the dog, presumably). Estimate: £500 – 700.

• A rare Tudor copper alloy candlestick from around 1400-1500. Estimate: £2,000-3,000

• An18th century turned lignum vitae mortar and pestle. The mortar is unusually large at 22cms high. Estimate: £1,000-1,500.

• An English civil war period breast- and back-plate. Estimate: £1,000-1,500

5 August 2021


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