Dieppe France | c. 1820
Measurements: Each 3 3⁄4” x 3” (9.5 x 7.5 cm)
Pair of ivory portrait reliefs of Queen Elizabeth I and George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham. Each is carved on a rectangular ivory ground, with a carved armorial in each of the upper corners; featuring three fleurs-de-lis and three lions passant guardant in the case of Queen Elizabeth, and five scallop shells arranged within a cross for Villiers. Presented in the original, leather bound case, lined with old black velvet.
Queen Elizabeth I was the last reigning monarch of the Tudor dynasty, and one of the most enduring personalities of British royal history. She remained unmarried, styling herself as a Virgin Queen dedicated only to her country. George Villiers (1592-1628) was a courtier and a favourite of Elizabeth’s successor to the English throne, James I. Well known for his good-looks, he was one of the most rewarded courtiers of all time, and many later historians have even speculated as to the nature of his relationship with James I, suggesting that they may have been lovers.