An early 19th century silver eye bath with gilt interior, crested and with royal provenance. Once owned by the Hanoverian Royal Family and sold by Sotheby’s on their behalf in Oct 2005. It is unmarked, as royal and ambassadorial orders placed through the Jewel House sometimes were.
Engraved on the body with the crest of the British Royal Family within the collar of the Order of the Garter surmounted by a ducal coronet. This engraving could relate to any of the sons of George 111 and Queen Charlotte, all of whom had their Dukedoms and the Garter by 1801. However, from the letters ‘EAF’ engraved on the base we can tell that this eye bath was in Hanover in 1837. Those initials stand for Ernest Augustus Fidekomiss (in translation ‘heirloom of Ernest Augustus’) and were placed on items in Hanover when Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1771-1851) inherited the throne from William IV in 1837. Under prevailing Salic law in Germany, Queen Victoria as a woman could not inherit the crown of Hanover as she did the British one.
So this piece was owned from 1837 by Ernest Augustus Duke of Cumberland (1771-1851) and King of Hanover. However, its origins might precede that date and it could have been the prior property of his younger brother Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge (1774-1859) who served as a popular Viceroy of Hanover from 1816 to 1837 when he was expelled by his brother, and after which some of his possessions may have remained.
- From the Phisick collection