Mountbatten family collection to head to auction

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By Siddhi Jain

New Delhi– Over 350 objects from the 18th century home of the late Patricia Edwina Victoria Mountbatten — the eldest daughter of Britain’s last Viceroy of India — would go under the hammer at a Sotheby’s auction on March 24. The objects span jewellery, furniture, paintings, sculpture, books, silver and ceramics, said the auction house.

Born in 1924, Patricia known as the second Countess Mountbatten of Burma, was the great granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She lived in Newhouse with her husband John Knatchbull, seventh Baron Brabourne.

According to Sotheby’s, “The sale will open to door on the history of the family through the art and objects that they lived with, crossing the paths of the twentieth century’s leading figures along the way. Many items were inherited from her ancestors and share connections with India, a place that was very special to the family.”

Some of the objects on auction in London include a pair of gold and enamel elephants, made in Jaipur and given by Louis Mountbatten to his wife as a present to mark their 24th wedding anniversary in 1946. The pair had become engaged at Viceroy’s House in Delhi in 1922.

A diamond set and enamelled gold bracelet made in India, that once belonged to Queen Victoria herself and was passed down the family, is also part of the sale, so is an India-inspired set of jewels belonging to the last Viceroy’s wife.

Among the auction highlights is the “The Imperial Order of the Crown of India”. “Given to Patricia’s mother-in-law Doreen, wife of one-time Viceroy Michael Knatchbull. The only living wearer is Queen Elizabeth II,” said Sotheby’s.

Harry Dalmeny, Sotheby’s Chairman, UK & Ireland, said in a statement: “Lady Mountbatten’s residence, Newhouse, was a private place for entertaining only the closest of family and friends, capturing all the magic of a stately home on an intimate scale. Through her belongings, many passed down from members of the extended family over the years, collectors have the chance to see the story of the 20th century unfold and acquire evocative vestiges of a glittering way of life.”

Lady Mountbatten’s family said in a statement issued by the auction house: “Our overriding desire when organising our mother’s affairs is to honour her wishes and celebrate the memory of both our mother and our father. They had discussed these arrangements with us, and we are simply putting their plans into effect. We are of course keeping many things and importantly among these are objects which are of sentimental value and are much loved.”

Patricia was also connected to India through her husband John’s side of the family. “John’s father (Michael Knatchbull) spent four months as India’s youngest Viceroy in 1938, and John himself worked for Louis Mountbatten in India, before later becoming an Academy Award nominated Film Producer (behind titles such as “A Passage to India”). When Patricia and John married, the newlyweds chose to spend several months in India as part of their honeymoon. A young Princess Elizabeth (who would later become Queen Elizabeth II) had been a bridesmaid at their wedding,” said the auction house. (IANS)


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