The right royal reason that this broken wine glass sold for £25,000 at auction

Huon Mallalieu takes a look at two magnificent objects which sold at auction this summer, including a wine glass used by Bonnie Prince Charlie and a marble table which came from Windsor Castle.

Two undoubted royal relics came to auction during the summer. In Edinburgh in mid August, Lyon & Turnbull took £25,000 for a broken wine glass. It was a simple 18th-century teardrop glass from which Bonnie Prince Charlie is said to have drunk a toast to his father while on his way to take Edinburgh in 1745.

The stem was then snapped so that no lesser toast could be drunk from it, but Patrick Murray, a goldsmith in nearby Stirling, was commissioned to provide a new silver foot, which was engraved ‘God blis King James the Eight’.

Murray was not only a smith – a handful of marked pieces are known – but also a JP and Sheriff-Clerk of Stirling. He was also a Jacobite and signed up with Lord George Murray’s Brigade, however, he surrendered or was captured soon after and, on November 15, 1746, he was among the last batch of prisoners to be hung, drawn and quartered on Harraby Hill in Carlisle.

Presumably, the severity of the sentence was due to his having held public office. He was buried with his fellows in St Cuthbert’s, Carlisle.

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No blood attached to a Victorian amboyna wood and specimen marble table sold for £6,720 by Eldreds of Plymouth in July.


Chess table from Windsor Castle

It came from the very crowded house of the late Sir Owen Morshead, Royal Librarian from 1926 to 1958 – at first, a stamped crown, inscription ‘VR 1866 Windsor Castle Room 233’ and inventory label under the pedestal were overlooked. When they were noticed, the initial £500 estimate was doubled.

The Morsheads had lived in a grace-and-favour house while at Windsor and their own furniture was stored by the Lord Chamberlain’s department. However, some pieces were lost and this table was given them in compensation.