This is a most special piece as it may well have been a presentation to a Mother Superior. The complete item is constructed from sterling silver. The plaque and tongue are marked for Birmingham 1889, George Unite and the large silver swivel is marked sterling silver and maker’s mark WD (possibly William Davis). The waist plaque, which would be the correct way up when viewed by the wearer, consists of engraved scrolls surrounding the seated figure of a nun (or possibly Mary), who is holding a cross with a book on her lap. At her feet are two tablets with the Roman numerals I - IX, with the number X not visible but this would almost certainly represent the Ten Commandments. At the bottom of the plaque is a wide silver hinge - in the middle of the lower section of this D-shaped hinge is a swiveling connection and attached to this is a solid silver large swivel with thin steel band to close the swivel securely. This is sturdy enough to have held quite a large collection of keys and probably also a Rosary and cross. It is known that nun’s did indeed wear chatelaine waist plaques with such items attached (those who taught in school would carefully lift-up the appendages so they would not rattle and forewarn the members of a naughty classroom!). General chatelaines for a nun would often include personally constructed items such as pincushions or pin wheels for instant repair of their habits. The condition of this piece is very good for age. This chatelaine would be a quality addition to any collection of silver, especially that by George Unite, or would be of interest to collectors of items with a religious theme. Length 4.25 ins (10.7cm), width 1.75 ins (4.4cm). Weight 60 grams. This item appears in my book, "Chatelaines, Utility to Glorious Extravagance" on page 166. Insured Air Mail Post with tracking to the USA would be $35.50 USD - with no tracking is cheaper. For shipping cost to other countries, please contact us.
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