For all the controversy surrounding various members of the Royal Family recently, the fact remains that few things sell as well at auction as items with a Royal connection. The closer to the Monarch, the better, as the silver cigarette case and letter from King George VI to Lionel Logue, his speech therapist, showed recently at auction when it sold for over £60,000. As you may remember, the relationship between the King and Logue was the central theme of the film The King’s Speech.
Now we have the exciting spectacle of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon’s personal belongings coming under the hammer. In this case, not only are we talking about the Queen’s sister, but also about a glamorous society couple with a notoriously scandalous lifestyle that led to divorce.
In cases like these, what fascinates is not the expensive furniture, jewellery and pictures but the knick-knacks, toys and other highly personal trinkets that shed light on the personalities behind the public personae.
So what do we have here? A Snowdon photograph of a natterjack toad climbing out of a glass tumbler, an Inuit soapstone model of a walrus, a framed Punch cartoon, a brass fire helmet and three silver-plated and warthog-tusk masks from the Snowdons’ 1965 Uganda tour. Make of these what you will.