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  • Place of origin:

    London (made)
    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Banks Durham, Joseph (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cut steel

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Gilbert Russell

  • Museum number:

    M.10:1 to 9-1971

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 19, shelf C []

This chatelaine was greatly admired by the exhibition jury and won a Prize Medal. Their report commented: “ a beautiful chatelaine, entirely of wrought steel: it is composed of twelve pieces, adjusted with extreme care, and covered with faceted ornaments; several of the pieces, such as the étui, the key, the tablets and the almanack, have required very long and skilful work and twelve months were required to complete this chatelaine. It was made entirely in London, and not a single piece of it was stamped.”

Chatelaines were decorative but useful waist hung fashion accessories. The system of clips and chains, attached to the belt, kept small but necessary items such as sissors, keys and money easily accessible for housewives and housekeepers. Before the 1850s pockets were uncommon in women’s garments and chatelaines were a versatile and ornamental alternative. The huge numbers of increasingly large and elaborate chatelaines made in Britain and America was ridiculed in satirical publications like Punch magazine.

Physical description

Cut steel chatelaine. The hook-plate inscribed on the reverse, 'Durham/ Cutler to H.R.H. Prince Albert/456 Oxford Street'.

Place of Origin

London (made)
England (made)


ca. 1850 (made)


Banks Durham, Joseph (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Cut steel

Marks and inscriptions

'Durham/ Cutler to H.R.H. Prince Albert/456 Oxford Street'
hook-plate inscribed on the reverse


Height: 43 cm, Width: 43 cm, Depth: 2.4 cm

Object history note

The hook-plate inscribed on the reverse, 'Durham/ Cutler to H.R.H. Prince Albert/456 Oxford Street'. Shown by Joseph Banks Durham at the Great Exhibition of 1851, the piece was described in the official catalogue as 'Highly polished and richly cut steel chatelaine, with improved scissors and tablet'.

Descriptive line

Cut steel chatelaine, England, about 1851



Subjects depicted

Pen knives; Keys; Thimbles; Anchors; Bookcases; Cases; Letter openers; Scissors


Jewellery; Metalwork; Great Exhibition


Metalwork Collection

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