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Set of jewels

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased through the generosity of Geneviève Davies, and William and Judith Bollinger

  • Museum number:

    M.13:1 to 9-2013

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 13, shelf C, box 1 []

On 30 April 1816 the Prince Regent, the future George IV, sent to ‘Miss Coats’ a set of peridots to wear at the marriage of his daughter, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. ‘Miss Coats’ was either Charlotte or Lucy Cotes, two of the ladies in Princess Charlotte’s household who had been entrusted by the Prince Regent with keeping a close eye on the princess between 1814 and 1816. Princess Charlotte sometimes resented their presence, describing the gaunt Dowager Countess of Rosslyn and her nieces, the Cotes sisters, as ‘Famine & the consequences’. Only eighteen months later Charlotte Cotes took part in the funeral procession for Princess Charlotte whose death in childbirth aroused a nationwide expression of grief. Henry Brougham, the statesman, wrote: ‘it really was as though every household throughout Great Britain had lost a favourite child’.

Physical description

Set of gold and peridot jewels, composed of a necklace with pendent cross, two bracelets, two earrings and brooch. They are contained in a red leather case and have survived with a letter from Princess Elizabeth.

Object history note

On 30 April 1816 the Prince Regent, the future George IV, sent to ‘Miss Coats’ this set of peridots to wear at the marriage of his daughter, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. ‘Miss Coats’ was either Charlotte or Lucy Cotes, two of the ladies in Princess Charlotte’s household who had been entrusted by the Prince Regent with keeping a close eye on the princess between 1814 and 1816. Princess Charlotte sometimes resented their presence, describing the gaunt Dowager Countess of Rosslyn and her nieces, the Cotes sisters, as ‘Famine & the consequences’. For the wedding the two Cotes sisters received a set of peridot jewels and a set of amethyst jewels, but it is not certain which set each sister received. Only eighteen months later Charlotte Cotes took part in the funeral procession for Princess Charlotte whose death in childbirth aroused a nationwide expression of grief.

In Rundell’s invoice, which is in the Royal Archives at Windsor, the entry for the peridot (described as chrysolite) and amethyst sets of jewellery is dated 3 April 1816, and the parts of each set are listed and costed. The chrysolite jewels cost £240 9s, the amethysts £298 15s.

The Cotes sisters, Charlotte and Lucy, were the daughters of John Cotes (1749-1821), M.P., of Woodcote, Shropshire, by his first wife, the Hon. Lucy Courtenay (died 1786), daughter of William Courtenay, 1st Viscount Courtenay. Her sister, Charlotte Courtenay, the future ‘Old Famine’, married Alexander Wedderburn, 1st Earl of Rossyln (created 1801) in 1782. He died in 1805.

The set of peridots passed by descent and by marriage to a lady who generously donated it to an auction held on 10 November, 2012 (lot 220), organised by the Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield, in aid of the Community. It was subsequently the subject of an export licence application by the new owner. A licence was deferred and the owner subsequently agreed to sell the set to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Descriptive line

Set of gold and peridot jewels by Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, London, 1816, in red leather case with letter to Miss Cotes

Materials

Peridot; Gold; Leather; Silk (textile); Brass (alloy)

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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