1941 Cartier, Sterling Silver Frame with Autographed Photograph of Sir Winston Churchill
Price Code: £££££
A large and unique Sterling silver frame of great historical significance, made by and hallmarked for Cartier, London, 1941, and heavily embossed with the wings of the Royal Air Force. The frame is housed in its original red leather Cartier travelling case and displays an autographed photograph of Sir Winston Churchill, (1874-1965), dated 1942. The reverse of the frame holds a letter and envelope addressed to the 11th Marquess of Queensbury, dated 30th April 1941 and signed by various senior Officers in the Royal Air Force.
The front of the frame is engraved with the following inscription:
THE MARQUESS OF QUEENSBURY’S BOXING TOURNAMENT
IN AID OF
THE ROYAL AIR FORCE BENEVOLENT FUND
20TH FEBRUARY 1941.
PRESIDENT: HM THE KING. VICE PRESIDENT: HRH THE DUKE OF GLOUCESTER
“NEVER IN THE FIELD OF HUMAN CONFLICT WAS SO MUCH OWED BY SO MANY TO SO FEW”
Secretary of State for Air and President of the Air Council [signed] Archibald Sinclair
Chief of Air Staff [signed] Charles Porta
Deputy Chief of Air Staff [signed] Sholto Douglas
Air Officer in Chief Command Bomber Command [signed] Richard Peirse
Air Officer in Chief Command Coastal Command [signed] Frederick Bowhill
Francis Douglas, 11th Marquess of Queensbury (1896–1954) served as a second lieutenant during the First World War, before being discharged from service for a gunshot wound to the leg. During the Second World War, the Marquess supported sports clubs for servicemen, in particular boxing. This autographed photograph is thought to have been one of the prizes supplied for a charity auction at a boxing tournament hosted by the Marquess in 1941. British comedian Will Hay wielded the gavel, putting the photograph down to Canadian speedboat racer Jack Biddle for £1,000, the equivalent to over £40,000 today. Biddle paid but generously allowed the Marquess to keep the photograph for a future charity auction. It is thought that Simon Marks (of Marks and Spencer and founder of the RAF cadets) subsequently matched this amount as a donation, and the Marquess was presented with the piece. The frame’s hallmark (dating it to between 29th May 1941 and 28th May 1942) suggest that the photograph was originally unframed and that the Marquess had the frame made and engraved for it. The framed photograph passed down by descent from the Marquess.
An extraordinary and totally unique piece. Combining impeccable craftsmanship, excellent provenance, and of great historical significance, this is a highly desirable addition to the keenest Churchill connoisseur’s collection.
Height of frame: 47cm.
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