Travelling writing case belonging to Ernst August, Crown Prince of Hanover c.1845

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  • Travelling writing case belonging to Ernst August, Crown Prince of Hanover


WEST, Fitzmaurice (maker); [ERNST AUGUST, Crown Prince of Hanover, 3rd Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, 1845-1923]

[London : Fitzmaurice West, circa 1845]. Portable writing case, 380 x 250 x 155 mm, in black morocco; hinged lid with collapsible gilt bronze carry handle; blind tooled decoration in the form of fleurs-de-lis and gilt stamped monogram with the German Gothic initial E surmounted by a royal coronet; front side with working Bramah lock, the steel key still attached to the carry handle with the original black ribbon; the lock is engraved 'F. West. Manufacturer to Her Majesty, Prince Albert and Royal Family. No. 1 St. James's Street'; the leather fitted interior, in matching black morocco, is original and virtually complete; it contains a removable compartmentalised tray with a Berry's Patent glass inkwell housed in a black morocco box with gilt bronze handle and working locking mechanism, stamped in gilt 'INK', and a Berry's Patent match safe, stamped in gilt 'LIGHT', containing its original flint and matches; an array of writing-related instruments including a mother of pearl pen, letter opener and ruler, with their original black morocco holder (one instrument is lacking); a dozen unused copper nibs; stationery items, including approximately 100 embossed envelopes and writing paper; two unused octavo size notebooks (a ledger book and diary), bound in limp black morocco, all edges gilt, spines stamped in gilt 'CASH' and 'JOURNAL', respectively; a black morocco portfolio for blotting paper; and three examples of the engraved business card of 'F. West, Cutler & Dressing Case Manufacturer, 1 St. James's Street, London. Successor to the late G. Palmer. By appointment to Her Majesty and H.R.H. Prince Albert'. Contained in the bottom of the box are a number of items auxiliary to the original contents; these include the young Ernst August's manuscript titled 'Guelphen Calender', a calendar of important dates in the history of the House of Guelph (square octavo, all edges gilt, 64 pages), in a presentation binding by Meyer, binder to the royal House of Hanover, gilt stamped monogram to front with the German Gothic initials EA surmounted by a coronet, dated on the first page 21 September 1858, and with all entries relating to the young Prince's immediate family in red ink (the other entries in black throughout); a worn coin of Friedrich Augustus I, Elector of Saxony and king of Poland (1697-1704; 1709-1733); a calligraphic writing exercise listing the full official titles of the Prince's father, Georg V of Hanover (1819-1878); a juvenile pencil sketch depicting a royal scene; a writing exercise with important dates in the history of the House of Hanover in the first part of the nineteenth century; the young Prince's handwritten timetable for his daily instruction in French; a handwritten note on the Lords of Adenoys, the Prince's ancestors; and a manuscript letter of introduction, dated 20 September 1821, for Augustus Lutyens, grandson of General Waggenheim, written in London by M. Kennedy and addressed to his friend Admiral Sir Edmund Nagle in Hanover (Nagle was a trusted courtier of George IV of Great Britain and Ireland; while acting as emissary in Hanover in 1821, Nagle presumably passed this letter of introduction for Lutyens on to a member of the Hanoverian court; the letter found its final resting place in this royal writing case). Ernst August (Ernest Augustus), Crown Prince of Hanover, 3rd Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale (1845-1923), was the eldest child and only son of the last king of Hanover, Georg V (1819-1878), and his wife Marie of Saxe-Altenburg. His great-grandfather was George III, king of Great Britain and Ireland. This travelling writing box, made around 1845 by the London maker Fitzmaurice West, would almost certainly have been a gift to the young prince from one of his British royal relatives (Ernst August's father, Georg V, was the cousin of Queen Victoria, the last Hanoverian monarch of Great Britain). According to the British Museum, 'Fitzmaurice West, cutlers and dressing case manufacturers to the Royal Family, succeeded G. Palmer at 1 St James's Street in 1844.' However, The Post Office London Directory (1843) records that 'West, late G. Palmer' was already at 1 St. James's Street. In any event, the fact that the business cards placed in the travelling case by its maker still contain the phrase 'Successor to the late G. Palmer' strongly suggest a date of manufacture of around 1845. The case and its contents appear to have been hardly touched, at least until after 1858, at which time the case also became a repository for the prince's monogrammed House of Guelph calendar and several other miscellaneous manuscripts and objects.Ernst August was deprived of the throne of Hanover upon its annexation by Prussia in 1866. He married Princess Thyra of Denmark in 1878. The last Hanoverian prince to hold a British royal title and the Order of the Garter, his descendants are in the line of succession to the British throne. Although he was the senior male-line great-grandson of George III, the Duke of Cumberland was deprived of his British peerages and honours for having sided with Germany in World War I. 

Price: $6,000.00

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