Antiquarenbeurs Mechelen


Dr. Ingo Fleisch Manuscriptum
Hauffstrasse 3
10317 Berlin


Dr. Ingo Fleisch


+49 (0) 30-55 15 56 74 +49 (0) 30-55 15 56 74


King LEOPOLD I (1790-1865), first King of the Belgians. Desk set from royal property, c. 1820/30. Three-piece set in a rectangular casket (c. 20 x 7 cm) covered with dark blue velvet and lined with silk and ivory-coloured velvet, with applied gold monogram "L" and gold British crown (Edward's crown) - Leopold was a British prince at the time (1816-1830) - and gold framing on the base and lid (the latter with small losses). Included are a letter opener (19 cm, 62 g), a letter knife (11.5 cm, 30 g), which was probably used to remove seals, and a seal (5.5 cm, 32 g) with an engraved Belgian crown and banner ("Chateau des Amerois"). All three instruments are fitted with carnelian handles in silver-gilt (vermeil) mounts chiselled with rich rocaille ornamentation. The intaglio with the stamp engraving was renewed around 1870/80; the other pieces are likely to have been part of the casket's original fittings in this form. At the time the ensemble was made, Leopold was still a prince at the English royal court and would have become Prince Regent of Great Britain in place of his nephew Albert if his wife, the heir to the throne Charlotte Augusta of Wales, had not died in childbirth.

Instead, Leopold became the first King of the Belgians in 1831. After his death, his desk set came into the possession of his younger son, Philip of Belgium (1837-1905). He declined the crowns of Greece and Romania offered to him and was content with the title of Count of Flanders. In 1869, he acquired the Château des Amerois near Bouillon, where he spent several months every year. After a fire, he had the château extensively remodelled between 1874 and 1877. The customised insignia intaglio probably dates from this period. After Philipp's death, the castle - probably together with our desk set - first came into the possession of the Belgian timber wholesaler Robert Colette and finally into the possession of the Solvay family of entrepreneurs.

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