A Historically Important K.G’s Garter as worn by the 1st Duke of Wellington
A well-documented and historically important K.G’s garter, as worn by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, and, as such, probably the only notable example of his insignia ever likely to appear on the market The Most Noble Order of the Garter, K.G., Knight’s blue silk garter, with embroidered motto honi soit qui mal y pense in silver bullion, and additional decoration, gold buckle and steel pin, 450mm. overall length, early 19th century, together with an old exhibition label stating ‘Garter worn by Field Marshal The Duke of Wellington as Knight of that Most Distinguished Order, Deposited by The Rev. R. B. Dickson’, slight damage and traces of repair. Footnote & Provenance: Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, who gave it to his valet, John Mugford. The latter’s widow was later a pensioner of Emanuel Hospital, Westminster, where she gave it to the wife of the Chaplain and Master, the Rev. R. J. Waters, D.D. On Mrs. Waters’ death, the Garter passed to her son-in-law, John F. Dickson, who in turn gave it to his brother, the Rev. R. Bruce Dickson, onetime resident of Speen Lodge, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, in 1866. The latter was certainly still alive - and in possession of the Garter - in 1932, but by early 1943 it had been passed for disposal to a ‘well-known charity organisation’, who sold it to Sir Harry Fildes, M.P., through A. H. Baldwin & Sons. Sir Harry died in July 1948, thence by descent to the vendor at Sotheby’s, 19 May 2000 (Lot 23), and to the present vendor. The following items were also offered as part of John Mugford’s estate and are again included in this lot: a red morocco visiting card and coin holder, the borders gilt decorated and further gilt stamped ‘lord wellington’ and ‘cash’. two pocket handkerchiefs, one with embroidered ducal coronet with ‘W’ below, together with an old exhibition label stating ‘Deposited by The Rev. R. B. Dickson’. three manuscript letters in the hand of Field Marshal the Duke of Wellngton, the earliest example addressed to ‘Mrs. Hope’, and explaining that nothing could be done regarding an invitation to a function hosted by the Duke & Duchess of Clarence, dated at London, 26 May 1820; the second to ‘John’ [Mugford], in which he discusses a domestic matter and asks for the date of the ‘Queen’s Drawing Room’ by return of post, dated at Stratfield Saye,10 February 1833; and the last to ‘G. J. Somerville by Devonport’, this also dated at Stratfield Saye, 20 April 1840; together with two envelopes addressed to ‘Mr. John Mugford’ at the Duke of Wellington’s residence, Piccadilly, these dated 10 May 1833 and 20 May 1834. an unused admittance card for the state funeral of Field marshal the Duke of Wellington. documents of provenance, comprising a manuscript note signed by R. Bruce Dickson, dated 20 January 1866 (‘These Relics of the Great Duke of Wellington belonged to the then Widow of John Mugford, the Duke’s Valet ... ’), and a manuscript letter signed by the same, dated 5 October 1932; and a typescript letter to Sir Harry Fildes, M.P., signed by Roy Baldwin of A. H. Baldwin & Co. Ltd. (‘If you could pop in when you are nearby, we have something of great interest to show you. A well-known Charity Organisation has been given some most interesting Wellington Relics, including his original Garter of the Order of the Garter; letters, etc., upon the strict understanding that they find a home with a keen enthusiast who will treasure them and see that they are cared-for for posterity ... ’), dated 15 April 1943; related books, comprising The Wellington Memorial, by Major Arthur Griffiths, limited large paper edition, numbered 20 of 100, illustrations, original half calf gilt, 4to, George Allen, 1897; and Memoir of the Duke of Wellington, reprinted from The Times of 15-16 September 1852, original half calf gilt, small 8vo, Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1852 The whole contained in calamander wood and brass inlaid writing box, by D. Edwards, 21 King St., Bloomsbury, Manufacturer to His Majesty, the hinged top and sides with brass-lined stringing and crossbanding, the interior enclosing a tooled velvet-lined and green morocco compartment, countersunk brass handles, circa 1825; David Edwards patented military travel cases and is listed in the Royal Accounts of 1817 and 1823-27 The Duke was appointed a Knight of the Order of the Garter in March 1813.