Our Fine Jewellery & Watches auction on November 30 includes a metamorphic desk seal once belonging to Lady Sophia Macnamara (nee Hare) (1836-1912). The fifth child and fourth daughter of the 1st Earl of Listowe, Lady Sophia married Arthur Macnamara at Ballyhoole, Cork in 1854 and later settled in Hertfordshire becoming a lady in waiting to Princess Louise (later Duchess of Argyll).
9 November 2021
The seal, fashioned in 15ct gold with a carved white agate pommel handle, was made around 1860 when Lady Sophia and her husband Arthur Macnamara settled in Flamstead.
Lot 45 | A ladies' gold metamorphic desk seal, c.1860
When ‘closed’ a bloodstone matrix with the family seal (the arms of Macnamara impaling Hare) is visible. However, a hinged base opens to reveal a smaller cornelian matrix engraved with a monogram and a third banded agate intaglio engraved with the name Sophia. It comes for sale with an estimate of £2,000-3,000 from the collection of the late Peter Crofts (1924-2001), a Cambridgeshire antiques dealer whose own story was extraordinary.
After schooling at Wisbech grammar, Peter Crofts, the scion of a local farming family, had volunteered to serve in the Fleet Air Army and subsequently went to the US to train as a pilot. Tragically, on March 25, 1945, a month and a day before his 21st birthday, the engine of his Corsair F4U burst into flames during take-off at US Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. Both his legs were amputated and he had spent three and a half years recovering in hospital.
It was under the guidance of the Stamford dealer Major Bernard Edinburgh that he became an antiques dealer and by 1958 was elected a member of the British Antique Dealers Association. Despite his disability, he was a keen sailor, owning an 88-year-old clinker-built Norfolk beach boat.
Ninety lots from the home of one of East Anglia’s best-known families are to be offered for sale in our Fine Interiors auction on 14-15 June.
Sworders to sell the collection of Islington dealer Gordon Gridley this summer.
18 May 2022
From Tuesday 24 May to Sunday 12 June, visitors to the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket, Suffolk, will be offered a rare opportunity to view a collection of over 40 paintings, watercolours and drawings spanning the 60 year career of one of the world’s most loved equestrian artists.
18 May 2022