Royal affair: A peek at the British royal family’s tiara collection
It is the year of the Queen’s Jubilee, which marks the longest reigning British monarch for seven decades. A year full of events and initiatives celebrates her moments in service with street parties, pageants, a procession and performances in central London.
Also on display will be a selection of arrows of noble and royal origin, many of which have not been displayed in decades. Sotheby’s London will open the largest tiara exhibition to be held in the UK in 20 years. It is being performed as part of the Jubilee season to commemorate the reign of the Queen.
About 50 arrows are displayed in this exhibition, which will run till June 15. Almost all of the tiaras in the exhibition were created and owned by the British nobility and together they provide a comprehensive review of all the major tiara design styles through some of the most exemplary exponents of the style. “The sourcing of these jewelry has been a labor of love, resulting in an exhibition that showcases the best iterations through some of his most famous incarnations within the Tiara Style Register including the most loved and photographed Spencer tiara at Sotheby’s in London “This is a special moment to shed a special light on the dazzling craftsmanship bestowed upon many centuries of tiara making by generations of primarily British-based jewellers,” says Kristian Spoforth, Head of Jewellery.
Many tiaras were worn at exhibitions for the Queen’s coronation in 1953, such as the Anglesey tiara made around 1890; The Derby tiara was initially made for the Duchess of Devonshire in 1893 and the Westminster Halo tiara, which was commissioned by the Duke of Westminster in 1930 for his bride, Loelia Ponsonby, to Paris-based jewelers Lacloche Frres. They bring a dynamic and direct connection to this year’s celebrations.
Among the nearly 50 objects on show, the exhibition covers the most established design styles within the tiara style, including Napoleonic Empire, Romantic Naturalism, Belle Epoque, Art Deco, modern and contemporary design. Among the most notable pieces within the exhibit is the historic Spencer tiara, worn by one of the most influential members of the royal family. Initially made in 1767 and reported to be passed down through generations within the Spencer family, it was worn by Lady Diana, known for being fond of tiaras, often wearing it to white-tie events. The dazzling piece played at least seven times between 1983 and 1992, on special occasions during royal tours and high-profile events within and outside the UK.
Another highlight is an Emerald and Diamond tiara designed by Prince Albert in his Gothic Revival style for his wife Queen Victoria in 1845, crafted by Crown Jeweler Joseph Kitching for £1,150. In the many years the prince conceived for his wife, it was reportedly his favorite of them all, and is widely seen as one of the most beautiful colored gemstone tiaras ever made in the world. Set in gold, it has amazing symmetry and balance with cushion-shaped diamonds interlaced with step-cut emeralds at its base, scroll-shaped diamonds and emeralds on top and 19 inverted cabochons of pear-shaped emeralds. Has overtaken the graduated line. The largest of which weighs 15 carats.
The tiara is often associated with a representation of a younger Queen Victoria with her family – chief among them the portrait of ‘The Royal Family in 1846’ by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, which depicts Queen Victoria with Prince Albert surrounded by her children. Gone, as well as a number. Of the more intimate paintings by the artist. Queen Victoria is also known to have worn the tiara at many royal and official events, including a state visit to France in 1855.