Cartier brooches

Two Cartier brooches commissioned in 1934 and presented to Lady Courtauld by her husband Sir Stephen Courtauld with designs inspired by stained glass windows in their Eltham Palace home. They are estimated at £15,000-20,000 at Dreweatts.

Image copyright: Dreweatts

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Sir Stephen Courtauld (1883-1967), a member of the Courtauld textile family and his wife Virginia (1883-1973), took a 99-year lease from the Crown on Eltham Palace in Southeast London in 1933. The house had a long history and included a great hall built during the reign of Edward IV in the 15th century but was in a dilapidated state.

The Courtaulds appointed the architects Seely & Paget to restore the hall and add a now famous contemporary house in the Art Deco style.

The creation of the new house and the restoration of the Palace inspired the design of these brooches, which were commissioned from Cartier for Lady Courtauld in December 1934, and presented to her by Sir Stephen in 1937.

The brooches were made using the designs for the stained glass windows by the artist George Kruger Gray which were installed at Eltham Palace in 1936 and can still be seen in the great hall.

The jewels are in the form of King Edward IV cyphers. One brooch, signed Cartier London (with a later removeable brooch fitting), features a falcon in a fetterlock surround, the falcon set with diamonds on a background of pink tourmaline and sapphire.

The other, set with diamonds, sapphires, tourmalines and citrines, is designed as a White Rose of York on the starburst of Richard II, known as the ‘rose en soleil’.

The brooches, which have a provenance to Sir Stephen and Lady Courtauld themselves and thence by descent, will be offered as a single lot in Dreweatts June 18 auction of jewellery, silver, watches and objects of vertu in Newbury and have an estimate of £15,000-20,000.