The rectangular cut-cornered case, engraved with the cipher of Edward, Prince of Wales, the gilt interior inscribed: For Dearest David from his devoted brother Bertie, June 23rd 1915, measuring approximately 83mm x 57mm x 15mm, signed Clark. 33. New Bond Street, British hallmarks for London 1908 and maker's mark AC for Alfred Clark.
Cf: Sotheby's, The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor, Geneva, Friday 3rd April 1987, Lot 221.
Cf: John Culme, The Directory of Gold and Silversmiths, Jewellers and Allied Traders 1838-1914, From the London Assay Office Registers, Volume I, The Biographies, London, 1987, page 85 for an entry on Alfred Clark.
The cipher of Edward, Prince of Wales with the three ostrich feather plumes is accented with 'Ich Dien', ('I Serve'); the motto of the Prince of Wales. Edward celebrated his twenty-first birthday on 23rd June 1915. This case was a gift from his brother Prince Albert (later Duke of York, and from 1935, King George VI), known as Bertie by his family, he and the Prince of Wales were close as children, being near in age and raised in the nursery together. They were looked after by the nursery footman, Frederick Finch, and then tutored together by Henry Hansell. Both brothers went to Osborne Royal Naval College, but being in different years, could only snatch an occasional walk together round the playing fields. When later at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, both princes fell ill during an epidemic of mumps and measles.
After the accession of George V in 1910, the difference in their status became more acute, the elder brother being treated with more deference as heir to the throne. In 1912 their paths diverged, the Prince of Wales going to Magdalen College, Oxford, while Prince Albert returned to Dartmouth. During the Great War, the Prince of Wales served in the Army, while Prince Albert served in the Navy. In the latter years of the war, and shortly afterwards, Prince Albert was drawn into his elder brother's rather raffish set, though never very comfortably.
Alfred Clark founded his business in 1880 and was listed as a silversmith and manufacturer of fitted travelling bags, by appointment to HRH the Prince and Princess of Wales; in 1888 the Prince of Wales ordered a clock to present to the Princess on the occasion of their silver wedding anniversary. Clark had several premises in the Mayfair area and moved to 33 New Bond Street in 1903 where he remained until 1916.
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