We’ve been taking our cues from Sherlock this week by using a bit of detective work to uncover details about some of the more intriguing items in our collection…
We have a number of Chinese jade and Fabergé objets de vertu that were collected by Polesden Lacey’s last private owner, Margaret (Maggie) Greville, in the early part of the twentieth century. We know a little about their origins and that some were given to Mrs Greville as gifts by guests such as King Edward VII and that they were in Maggie’s collection when she died in 1942. We need to find out more about when they were made, by whom, and even what some of them actually are.
Last year we spent a day in the Saloon viewing the Fabergé under a microscope. This gave visitors a glimpse of their beauty up close and also allowed us to see if the objects had any markings or inscriptions. Unfortunately, several of our Fabergé items are stone animals which typically aren’t marked, but a few of the other objects are. We’ve been able to interpret some of the markings, such as the gold content, but others are harder to understand. One of the problems is that the writing is so small that it’s difficult to see clearly!
The jade objects are more difficult to date as very few of them have any markings and, unlike Fabergé, were made over a large period of time. For most, we have very little idea of their purpose – whether they were made for decorative or practical reasons. Deducing their original function often needs expert knowledge.
The next step is consulting experts to help us learn more, so watch this space!