Highly Important Orders Of Knighthood Conferred Upon The First Earl Of Durham To Be Offered For Sale A unique group of recently rediscovered Orders of Knighthood conferred during the 1830s upon John George Lambton, "Radical Jack", the first Earl of Durham, are to be sold in London on June 10, 2010.
News-Antique.com - May 06,2010 - A unique group of recently rediscovered Orders of Knighthood conferred during the 1830s upon John George Lambton, "Radical Jack", the first Earl of Durham, by Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, Leopold I of Belgium, Otho of Greece and William IV of England, is to be sold by specialist London coin and medal auctioneers Morton & Eden, in association with Sotheby's, on Thursday 10 June 2010.
The Orders comprise exceptionally fine quality insignia of the Russian Order of St. Andrew (the highest honour the Tsar could bestow), the associated Orders of St Alexander Nevsky, the White Eagle and St Anne, the Belgian Order of Leopold, the Greek Order of the Redeemer, and the British Order of the Bath. In addition there are privately-made breast stars and fine miniatures. In total the sale is expected to realise in excess of £500,000.
The principle sets of insignia will be offered in special custom-made fitted cases commissioned from the British Court jewellers Rundell Bridge & Co, circa 1838. These sets have been kept in a purpose-built mahogany storage chest, in which additional metal breast stars, miniatures and associated items were also housed. The pieces, which have remained largely undisturbed since the Earl's death in 1840, survive in outstanding condition. They will be offered as individual lots, drawing the attention of collectors from all over the world.
In his foreword to the auction catalogue, the military historian Stephen Wood examines the life of the Rt. Hon Sir John George Lambton GCB, Earl of Durham, Viscount Lambton, Baron Durham (1792-1840), including his part in the establishment of constitutional monarchies in Belgium and Greece and his achievement in thawing Anglo-Russian relations during two years of tireless diplomacy in St Petersburg. He subsequently played an important, if controversial, role in the reorganisation of Canada's administrative structure in the union of Lower and Upper Canada. He died of tuberculosis on 28 July 1840.
Elected as one of two MPs for the county of Durham in 1813, Lambton established his reformist credentials early, voting on measures critical of the government of the day and in favour of Parliamentary reform. He was created Baron Durham in 1828. In 1830, he became Lord Privy Seal in Earl Grey's new government with a seat in the Cabinet; he played a pivotal part in the drafting of the Great Reform Bill of 1832.
Durham's fifteen years in the House of Commons were marred by his own ill health and personal tragedy. The untimely death in July 1815 of his first, much-loved wife Henrietta (the illegitimate daughter of Lord Cholmondeley) with whom he had eloped to Gretna Green in 1812, left him with three young daughters. Later the strains of over-work and despair following further family deaths, including that of his eldest son Charles, almost overcame him.
Durham first became engaged in foreign affairs as an unofficial adviser to his friend Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha who was elected to the throne of the newly-created kingdom of Belgium in June 1831. In gratitude, Leopold conferred upon