Lot 301
  • 301


8,000 - 12,000 GBP
17,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Elizabeth
  • Document signed ("Elizabeth R")
commanding Sir Thomas Heneage to pay £133 6s. 8d., to her chief almoner Richard Fletcher, Bishop of Worcester, or his assistant John Dix, as Maundy money for distribution during Holy Week, one vellum membrane (175 x 257mm), "at our manor of St James", 7 April 1593, papered seal, docketed on the verso by Dix, window mounted, together with two prints of Elizabeth I, bound in brown straight-grained morocco gilt, lettered on the upper cover, inside dentelles, blue endpapers, small smudge to signature, spotted


Vivien Leigh (1913-67); thence by descent

Catalogue Note

The distribution of money by the English royal family on Maundy Thursday is a ceremony that stretches back to the 13th century, although the striking of coins specifically for the purpose only began in the 1660s under Charles II. The distribution of royal alms is the responsibility of the Lord High Almoner, in this case Richard Fletcher (1544/5-1596), father of the great Jacobean dramatist John Fletcher who collaborated with Shakespeare and was his successor as playwright to the King's Men. The date and circumstances of Vivien Leigh's acquisition of this document are unknown, but it is listed in a 1948 inventory of her country home Notley Abbey. It may have been a gift associated with a performance, most likely her first major film role in the 1937 Elizabethan romance Fire Over England, in which Vivien played a lady-in-waiting to the ageing Queen, whose heroic lover (Laurence Olivier, in their first pairing) engaged himself in uncovering perfidious traitors and (not entirely single-handedly) thwarting the Spanish Armada. Flora Robson as Queen Elizabeth had the best lines, mostly taken as they were from genuine speeches by the Queen.