V&A - Jewelry on Exhibit


Two Nerdy History Girls is a great blog that I really enjoy reading. Loretta, from Two Nerdy History Girls reported  about a jewelry reward the Prince Regent gave to two Cotes sisters that he’d entrusted with keeping his daughter, the Princess Charlotte, from running amok. The Prince Regent was very generous in his gift of gorgeous peridot suite of jewelry, only the earrings are shown below.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

On 30 April 1816 the Prince Regent, the future George IV, sent to ‘Miss Coats’ a set of peridots to wear at the marriage of his daughter, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. ‘Miss Coats’ was either Charlotte or Lucy Cotes, two of the ladies in Princess Charlotte’s household who had been entrusted by the Prince Regent with keeping a close eye on the princess between 1814 and 1816.

The Cotes sisters, Charlotte and Lucy, were the daughters of John Cotes (1749-1821), M.P., of Woodcote, Shropshire, by his first wife, the Hon. Lucy Courtenay (died 1786), daughter of William Courtenay, 1st Viscount Courtenay. Her sister, Charlotte Courtenay, the future ‘Old Famine’, married Alexander Wedderburn, 1st Earl of Rossyln (created 1801) in 1782. He died in 1805.

The set of peridots passed by descent and by marriage to a lady who generously donated it to an auction held on 10 November, 2012 (lot 220), organised by the Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield, in aid of the Community. It was subsequently the subject of an export licence application by the new owner. A licence was deferred and the owner subsequently agreed to sell the set to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The video below, spotlights this peridot suite as well as revealing the letter’s contents. In a few cryptic words, the writer conjures quite a scene—at least in this writer’s mind. I also enjoyed seeing the collection suspended in a dark room with highlighted areas creating the illusion of floating jewelry. Surely an exhibit worth seeing.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqmRoDna0Qw&w=560&h=315]