This item is the “Holy Grail” for collectors of early Wedgwood. It is in the classic style and design of items in the Boulton Steel Catalogue held in the Birmingham Reference Library but as is not uncommon, it has no marks. Josiah Wedgwood and Boulton apparently often collaborated to create chatelaines (then known as equipages), buckles, buttons, sword hilts etc. and these original designs may be possible to be viewed in the library (two pages of these are shown in my book on chatelaines). My co-author (Nerylla Taunton) and I hunted for an example of one of these for several decades and this was to no avail until just before the publication of my later book on the wearing of watches, when this incredibly rare item became available. This is almost certainly a Boulton steel watch chatelaine/equipage enhanced with a deep blue Wedgwood jasper plaque of an angel. It has the long steel tongue at the back that would have secured the chatelaine in position over a belt or a waistband. It has four single chains, two of which hold original steel tassels. The other chains are longer and pass to steel screw-up swivels that currently hold two Wedgwood seals - a deep blue jasper seal on one (with monogram) and a matching-shaped basalt seal with a figure intaglio on the other. The two central chains join two thirds of the way down in typical fashion for these items and continue as one chain going to a swivel which would have originally been for a watch. This currently holds a simple steel watch key as well as a steel seal with the initials ‘CS’ engraved on the base. The condition of the Wedgwood components are excellent for age. The steel does show some oxidation but that would not be unexpected for the age of the piece and the steel material. The central steel swivel does not close entirely securely. This piece could well be the central feature of a significant collection of Wedgwood, particularly as it is coupled with Boulton steel and is a remarkable find. Such examples are rarely even seen in museums. Maximum length 8 ins (20.3cm). Weight 86 grams. This item appears in my book, How the Watch was Worn, A Fashion for 500 Years” on page 32.
An Author’s enticing collection of Special Boxes, Chatelaines, Watches and Fashion / Accessories.
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