Tiaras and portraits at Sotheby’s

All photos by a friend of mine (with mobile phone)

Both exhibitions that auction house Sotheby’s in New Bond Street, London, organised on the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom were a huge surprise. Unfortunately it was impossible for me to travel to London for it, but several friends of mine saw it, some people even went several times. 28 May the exhibitions Power & Image: Royal Portraiture & Iconography and Power & Image: Royal & Aristocratic Tiaras were opened. The first was open until 15 June, but the tiara exhibition was so popular that the opening was extended until 28 June 2022. The entrance was/is free.

On the occasion of the Queen’s jubilee Sotheby’s London furthermore organises a month-long program of exhibitions and events celebrating British art, design, literature leading up to its summer auctions including the Jubilee auction on 29 June, where some of the pieces shown at the exhibitions will be sold.

Power & Image: Royal Portraiture & Iconography

Five centuries of female monarchs were in the spotlight at this exhibition. The portraits of seven regnant Queens of Great Britain as well as historic manustripts showed an evolving image of power. The artsworks were on loan from several private collections, starting with the Armada portrait of Queen Elizabeth I (Woburn Abbey collection) up to a modern 2004 portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Chris Levine. Other portraits show Mary Queen of Scots, Queen Mary I, Queen Mary II, Queen Anne and of course Queen Victoria.

Power & Image: Royal & Aristocratic Tiaras

It is just spectacular that Sotheby’s managed to collect over 40 outstanding tiaras and other jewelry with British and European royal and aristocratic provenance. These pieces are often handed down through families for generations and are seldom on public display. The exhibition also includes a number of tiaras from modern British jewelry designers, that are available for purchase. However not all owners wanted to be identified.

Top row: Queen Victoria’s emerald and diamond tiara (Joseph Kitching, 1845), Hopetoun Tiara (ca. 1890), The Anglesey Tiara/Necklace (ca. 1890).
Middle row: The Fitzwilliam tiara (ca. 1820), Coronet designed by the 1st Duke of Wellington (R. & S. Garrard & Co, 1838), noble tiara in Napoleontic style (ca. 1830).
Bottom row: Russian style diamond tiara (ca. 1890), The Derby Tiara, Kent Pearl Fringe Tiara (early 20th century).

Top row: Diamond tiara from a noble family, Devonshire Honeysuckle Tiara (1865), Diamond Tiara.
Middle row: Spencer tiara (Garrard, mid 1930s), Imperial Russian tiara/necklace (late 19th/early 20th century), The Primrose Tiara (ca. 1830).
Bottom row: Tourmaline and diamond tiara (Charles de Temple, 1966), An important tiara (Cartier 1904), diamond tiara with lattice work (Fabergé, 1903).

Top row: Emerald and Diamond Tiara/Necklace (first half of the 19th century), Diamond Scroll tiara (ca. 1900), Devonshire Tiara (19th century).
Middle: Turquoise and diamond parure (Van Cleef & Arpels, 1960s).
Bottom row: Rosebery Tiara (French, 1878), Diamond tiara (mid 19th century), Fringe Diamond tiara and necklace (late 19th century), The Herries Diamond and Pearl Tiara (ca. 1880)


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