Queen’s lost racing trophy recovered after +150 years

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  • A vase commissioned by Queen Victoria as a gift for a racing winner has been found and identified over 150 years later.

    The trophy, known as the Warwick vase or Her Majesty’s vase was produced, at the Queen’s request, by silversmith John Samuel Hunt for the Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall races in 1845. It was created in the design of an ancient vase from the second century AD, which was nearly six feet high and discovered in pieces, in a lake near Rome in 1770.

    It was presented to Sir John Barker-Mill the baronet who owned the winning horse at the races, and was passed down through his family, but its significance was forgotten as the vase and its stand had become separated.

    The vase was found in the family home but when the stand was recently discovered in an outbuilding, the family realised what it was. Its origins have been confirmed, and it will be sold by Chiswick Auctions on 3 March.

    The auctioneers’ head of silver John Rogers said; “I am thrilled to offer such a stunning historical piece, made with such craftsmanship. The fact that it remained with the family for so long, without them knowing what is was, is astounding and I’m delighted that both the vase and plinth were reunited and it can be offered in its full glory.”

    The vase is engraved with an inscription reading: “Plymouth, Devonport and Cornwall Races 1845, the gift of her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria”.

    It weighs 4,316 grams and is 41.8 cm tall, including the plinth.

    “It sits on a spreading circular stem, with its main body cast and chased with a band of acanthus foliage and with lion’s pelt and bacchic masks,” said a spokesman for the auctioneer, adding that the vase carries an estimate of £20,000 – £30,000.

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