LONDON dealers Wartski are holding a loan exhibition at their Grafton Street Gallery from May 11-21 titled The King's Blood: Relics of King Charles I.
Drawing on public and private collections, it will showcase a small group of pieces associated with Charles I, whose death over 350 years ago still polarises opinion.
Venerated as a martyr by some, his relics took on a huge significance for Royalists. Exhibits include the chalice from which he took his last communion, shown here, his pearl earring, and a fascinating gem-set reliquary recently sold at Christie's South Kensington.
The silver chalice, hallmarked for London, 1629, is engraved on the base: "King Charles the First: Received the Communion in this Boule: on Tuesday the 30th January 1648 being the day in which he was murthered…".
It is also engraved with the arms of Sir Henry Hene (or Henn), 1st Baronet, of Winkfield, Berkshire (d.1668), it is on loan from a private collection to the exhibition. Although today we consider the king to have been executed in 1649, the inscription relates to the Julian calendar which was then in force, at which time the year started in March.
Admission is free, but catalogues will be sold in aid of The Down's Syndrome Association. For further information visit www.wartski.com