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Temporary export bar on placed rare jewellery linked to 19th century Princess

  • Date: 3 May 2013
  • Area: National
Peridot and gold suite of jewellery

Peridot and gold suite of jewellery.

A rare set of gold and peridot jewellery presented in 1816 to a Miss Cotes by the Prince Regent, has had a temporary export bar placed on it to provide a last chance to raise the £150,000 needed to keep it in the UK.

The jewellery is comprised of a necklace with pendant cross, a pair of bracelets and a brooch.

Outstanding significance to the study of jewellery

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey deferred granting an export licence for the jewellery following a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA), administered by the Arts Council.

The Committee ruled that the set was of outstanding significance for the study of the history of jewellery in the early 19th century.

Chairman of the RCEWA Lord Inglewood said:

'High quality jewellery of this age with a provenance as historic and rare as this is a very remarkable survival. It is equally an important example of late Georgian aristocratic taste which is perhaps considerably less 'bling' than its contemporary equivalent might be.'

A reward for the Princess' chaperone

They were bought by the Prince Regent as a gift to Miss Cotes to be worn at the wedding of his daughter Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. The marriage was the culmination of a difficult childhood and adolescence for Princess Charlotte. In 1814 she had rejected Prince William of Orange as a suitor and fled during the night of 11 July to her mother.

The Princess had been kept under close watch by a resident team of chaperones, including the Dowager Countess of Rosslyn and her two nieces, Charlotte and Lucy Cotes.

Prior to her wedding the Prince instructed his sister, Princess Elizabeth, to send the jewels to "Miss Cotes" (exactly which one of the Cotes sisters was the recipient is unclear).

The jewels were accompanied by a handwritten note from Princess Elizabeth, and the note has been kept together with the jewels to this day.

The decision on the export licence application for the suite of jewellery will be deferred for a period ending on 1 July 2013. This period may be extended until 1 October 2013 if a serious intention to raise funds to purchase the jewellery at the recommended price of £150,000 is made.

Offers from public bodies for less than the recommended price through the private treaty sale arrangements, where appropriate, may also be considered by Mr Vaizey. Such purchases frequently offer substantial financial benefit to a public institution wishing to acquire the item.

Further information

Find out about other items currently under temporary export deferral on our Cultural Property pages.