Woolley & Wallis will offer a collection of jewellery consigned by a descendant of the musical hall performer Lupino Lane (1892-1959) on January 25.
Lane, born Henry Lupino but known to all by his nickname of 'Little Nipper', was a prodigious comedic actor, theatre manager and director but is best known as the star of the 1937 musical Me and My Girl. Playing the character Bill Snibson, the cockney barrow boy who inherits an earldom, he sang and danced the famous Lambeth Walk.
To mark his success (he completed 1550 performances between 1937 and 1940), Lane had some pertinent diamond and gemstone ‘tomfoolery’ made for his wife Violet Blythe in the Art Deco taste. It is thought he may have been inspired to commission the jewellery by his friend Walt Disney, who had himself commissioned a charm set from Cartier to commemorate the characters he created.
Many of the pieces in the Salisbury sale feature Snibson dressed as a diamond-studded barrow-boy with enamel face and a hand in the thumbs-up position. Others include the famous ‘Oi’ - a reference to a moment when George VI and Queen Elizabeth attended a performance and joined in with the chorus of Lambeth Walk. Estimates range from £100-150 for an Elgin pocket watch with personalised hour markers reading Lupino Lane to £4000-6000 for a platinum and diamond clip ‘Snibson’ brooch.
The name of a follow-up musical Sweetheart Mine features in a 1940s millegrain-set ruby and diamond spray and banner clip brooch (estimate £2000-3000). Lupino Lane’s granddaughter Sara is the consignor.