About this lot


A collection of four early to mid-20th century nécessaires,
the first of rectangular form in the Art Deco style, finished in black, the piano hinged cover with decorative accent and with fully fitted interior, 19 x 12cm; the second, of rectangular form with a printed 'wooden' finish, piano hinged cover and fully fitted interior, 15 x 9cm; the third, of rectangular form, double sided and double hinged, the exterior with engine turned decoration around a rectangular cartouche engraved 'ANNE', fully fitted interiors and engraved inside 'FROM HOUSEHOLD STAFF, ALTHORP, 4TH AUGUST 1941', with Milanese style wrist band 13 x 10cm; the fourth, with the appearance of a handbag, finished in stained reptile style skin and with fully fitted interior, 22 x 17cm (4)

Provenance: Formerly the property of the Right Honourable the Countess Spencer DCVO, OBE, thence by direct descent

Footnote: The name 'Anne', engraved on the cover of the double sided example refers to Lady Anne Spencer, Countess Spencer's daughter and the aunt of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. She was born on 4th August 1920, so this would have been a gift for her 21st birthday. She married Christopher Wake-Walker in Westminster Abbey in 1941 in the presence of most of the British Royal Family, including the then Princess Elizabeth - now Her Majesty the Queen - and Princess Margaret. Since the 'Roaring Twenties' many of the fine jewellers and fashion houses have produced delicate evening bags and vanity cases known as “nécessaires”. They were small, usually hard-sided boxes, often exquisitely decorated and designed to contain such things as a powder compact, lipstick, comb, mirror, note card and pencil. Some also had separate sections to hold book matches and individual cigarettes.

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