LONDON – A decorative portion of a historic silk panel, commissioned to hang in Westminster Abbey for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, will be auctioned at Dreweatts during its Fine Furniture sale, scheduled for Monday, May 30 and Tuesday, May 31. The specially-woven panel was hung as a glorious backdrop, with a range of others, to set the scene for the special ceremony and is visible in many photographs of the coronation. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
It was produced in December 1952 by Warner & Sons Ltd. in Braintree, Essex, England and was designed by Robert Godden, the rector of the Royal College of Art. It was the first heraldic emblem of the sovereign to show the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland as well as the Principality of Wales.
Woven in the Queensway pattern in blue, with gold lurex thread, it features a gold woven crown above a rose, thistle, leek and shamrock emblem within an oak leaf wreath on a pale blue ground.
After the coronation, the silk hangings were given away or sold to raise money for charity. This particular panel is framed and bears a handwritten label on the back that says: “Portion of the Damask Frontal used in Westminster Abbey on the occasion of the coronation of Her M. Elizabeth II, 2nd June 1953.” It was purchased by the current owner’s grandfather and is estimated at £400-£600.
Senior Valuer at Dreweatts Silas Currie commented: “We are honored to offer such a rare historical souvenir, reminiscent of the very beginning of the Queen’s reign, and how poignant, as we celebrate her Platinum Jubilee and her 70 years on the throne.”
Also reflecting the royal theme is a mahogany and brass-mounted commode that was originally owned by Queen Mary and was later in the private collection of her Majesty the Queen until she offered it for auction in October 1959. The commode dates from the late 18th or early 19th century and features a gray marble top. Its original label on the back reads “V.M. Princess of Wales” and features an M surmounted by a crown. It also has a fragmentary label that reads “Duchess of Cornwall and York.” It carries an estimate of £1,500-£2,500.
The current rate of exchange is £1 = $1.23.
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