[Scottish National Memorials Contents]
SILVER WATCH, with Steel Chain and Seals, taken at the Battle of Falkirk by the owner’s great-grandfather. On the silver dial-plate is engraved ‘Jos. Talby, Aldgate.’
(1266) Lent by ROBERT GLEN.
GOLD WATCH, single case, enamelled round edge with landscapes in medallions. On the inside of the case there is enamelled a landscape, etc., and on the outside, as well as on the dial-face, there are mythological subjects. It has a coral bead chain, and a coral seal and key attached. It is French manufacture of the early eighteenth century, and belonged to Jean, wife of James, de jure 5th Earl, and 2nd titular Duke of Perth, but who, on account of his attainder after the civil war of 1715, was prevented from succeeding to the family estates. This lady was the daughter of George 1st Duke of Gordon, and was committed to Edinburgh Castle from 11th February to 17th November 1746, for the interest she had taken in furthering the Stewart cause in the previous year.
(1271) Lent by the BARONESS WILLOUGHBY DE ERESBY.
A MASSIVE GOLD SPANISH WATCH, with pierced cases, enamelled with flowers in various colours; dial and figures in blue; maker, Robert Dingley, London. With the watch are a silver-gilt scissor-case and scissors, thimble and needle-cases, and an antique gold seal engraved with arms, all attached. These belonged to Jean, titular Duchess of Perth.
(1270) Lent by the BARONESS WILLOUGHBY DE ERESBY.
QUEEN ANNE SNUFF-BOX, of silver, of the Burgh of Irvine inscribed: ‘Ye ancient Snuff-Box, Queen Anne, 1702.’
(1397) Lent by TOWN COUNCIL OF IRVINE
per JAMES DICKIE.
SNUFF-BOX which belonged to Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Natons.
(1071) Lent by the KIRKCUDBRIGHT MUSEUM ASSOCIATION.
OLD SILVER QUAICH, which belonged to a Stewart of Garth.
(1405) Lent by MRS. ROBERTSON OF STRUAN, SEN.
SMALL QUAICH of Silver, with ‘A. S.’ inscribed on the bottom.
(1396) Lent by MAJOR G. R. CRUDEN.
SILVER QUAICH, with initials M. C. This Quaich was the property of Marion, wife of Provost William Park, whose daughter, born in 1724, married John Shortridge.
(1557) Lent by JOHN WILLIAM BURNS.
SILVER GILT MASONIC JEWEL, Glasgow, latter part of eighteenth century.
(1382) Lent by MRS. T. M. CAMPBELL.
A SINGLE ROW PEARL NECKLACE, with fifty-seven pearls. The pearls were found in the river Tay. The necklace belonged to Jean, titular Duchess of Perth. The Tay and its tributaries were formerly important sources of pearls. Pennant (Tour in Scotland, 1769), says: ‘There has been in these parts a very great fishery of pearl got out of the fresh-water muscle. From the year 1761 to 1764, £10,000 worth were sent to London and sold for 10s. to £1, 16s. per ounce. I was told that a pearl had been taken there that weighed 33 grains: but this fishery is at present exhausted from the avarice of the undertakers: it once extended as far as Loch Tay.’ The fishery has been renewed from time to time since that date; and especially from 1860 to 1865 the industry was eagerly prosecuted. In 1865 as much as £12,000 were realized from Scottish pearls.
(1273) Lent by the BARONESS WILLOUGHBY DE ERESBY.
Scottish pearls were much esteemed in Queen Mary’s time. Scottish topazes and pearls appear among the Queen’s jewels at Chartley in 1586. There are several in the ancient crown of Scotland now preserved in Edinburgh Castle, and a Scottish pearl tops the sceptre. They also appear among the Crown jewels of England in the years 1324, 1338, 1379, and 1605. We have mention of them early in the twelfth century, when, in 1120, an English churchman begs the Bishop of St. Andrews to get him as many pearls as possible, especially large ones, even if the Bishop should have to ask them from the King of the Scots, who has more than any man living. Æneas Sylvius, afterwards Pope Pius II., who visited Scotland in 1435, speaks of Scottish pearls as one of the four commodities which the country exported.
In 1621 King Charles I. appointed a commissioner for preserving the pearl fisheries in the earldom of Sutherland. And among other things the commission sets forth that ‘the King’s Majesty has as undoubted right to all pearls breeding in waters as to the metals and precious stones found in the land within his dominions.’ Writing a few years later the commissioner states that the pearls are ‘excellent good,’ and that some of them have been sent to the King’s Majesty in England, and were accounted of great value.
During last century Scottish pearls were not in great demand – at least in Scotland. John Spreull (Bass John), writing in the year 1705, says, ‘I have dealt in pearls these forty years and more, and yet to this day I could never sell a necklace of fine Scots pearls in Scotland, nor yet fine pendants, the generality seeking for Oriental pearls. because farther fetcht.’ During the last quarter of a century a mania set in for the Scottish pearls. It was then said that the Queen was making a collection of them, and hundreds of persons at once began to follow Her Majesty’s example. Fine Scottish pearls are now exceedingly scarce. [A. J. S. B.]