THE world’s biggest ever auction of artefacts relating to the Jacobite rebellions is to be staged in Scotland this year to mark the 300th anniversary of the 1715 uprising.
Several hundred rarely seen items, many of which have direct links with Bonnie Prince Charlie, will be going under the hammer at Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh.
Global interest is expected from international institutions and private collectors in the sale, which is expected to dwarf the size of a previous auction staged by Christie’s in Glasgow almost 20 years ago.
World record prices are expected for many of the lots, which will include a locket containing some of the prince’s hair, an ivory flute he played, a Jacobite sword and a silver quaich used at the final meal of William Boyd, Earl of Kilmarnock, before he was executed for joining the 1745 uprising.
Antique arms, rare manuscripts, fine silver, jewellery, glassware, traditional portraits and miniatures will all be coming up for sale on 13 May. The sale offers the prospect of a host of privately owned treasures relating to 18th-century Scotland coming on to the market for the first time in years thanks to families and collectors capitalising on interest in the anniversary.
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Colin Fraser, Jacobite specialist at Lyon & Turnbull, said: “We don’t know exactly how much we’re going to have in the sale, but it’s building well and we have a broad mix already. There hasn’t been a sale like this for many moons and the last one, at Christie’s in Glasgow, was mainly focused on prints and books.
“The 1715 Jacobite Rising is not quite as well known or glamorous as the ’45, but was still a hugely important point in history for the Jacobites and, in a sense, created the later one.
“It’s a great opportunity for collectors and families to sell in a unique environment. We find that items always sell better in focused sales and we’re sure this one is going to create a lot of excitement.
“We’re expecting a wide range of interest from private collectors and as we will have some wonderful, extremely rare and strongly provenanced items, I would expect some very strong institutional bidding as well..”
The Jacobite Risings had the aim of returning the House of Stuart, descendants of James VII of Scotland and II of England, to the throne. His Catholicism had led to him being deposed in 1688 when William of Orange invaded and he fled to France.
Mr Fraser added: “We would encourage anybody who thinks they have something that might be of interest to make contact. We’re already travelling all over the country, and indeed abroad, to get items in for the sale.”