Fellows and Sons | Established 1876

Extraordinary 250 year old etui from the Countess of Portland up for auction


Fellows’ inaugural Fine Jewellery auction on Thursday 21st March offers an eighteenth century diamond and shagreen etui from the Countess of Portland. The alluring etui, once part of a larger chatelaine, has superbly matched diamonds and a fascinating history. The piece opens to reveal a pistol-grip folding knife, an ivory aide memoire, scissors, a pencil, and two personal grooming products.

Passed down from Jane Bentinck, Countess of Portland, the etui was given to her husband’s great granddaughter, Elizabeth Monck. The stunning item was on Elizabeth’s wedding inventory in 1769. It is likely the Countess of Portland (1672-1751) passed the etui down as a gift. The etui was exhibited in 1953 at the Belfast Museum and Art Gallery as part of the Bentinck Beresford Collection to assist with their coronation celebrations that year.

The item was consigned to Fellows from the estate of the late David Lavender, who acquired it as part of a collection in 2006. David Lavender, who was a renowned London dealer and collector of objets d’art, passed away in October 2018.


Lot 450: An 18th century silver and gold, shagreen and diamond etui.

Nicola Whittaker, from Fellows Auctioneers, said: “This etui is a beautiful piece even without the fantastic provenance we have. Given that we have record dating it to at least 250 years old, the condition is incredible. With information from the collection of the late David Lavender, we have been able to track the history of the piece back to 1769 when it was given by Jane Temple Bentinck, Countess of Portland to her great granddaughter, Elizabeth Monck.”

Whittaker added: “The diamonds appear to be original and the shagreen casing is unlikely to have been redone or repaired. The six articles inside seem to be contemporary to each other and the fittings look original. We are delighted to have such a fine piece in our inaugural Fine Jewellery auction as it typifies the calibre of pieces to expect in future auctions.”

The etui is estimated at £5,000 – £7,000, and appears as Lot 450. It is one of many highlights from the Fine Jewellery sale, a brand new auction full of high quality, diverse jewels to attract the increasing global audience at Fellows Auctioneers.


The Fine Jewellery sale is now available to view online and in person at the following times:

12 March 2019 12noon – 7pm (London)

16 March 2019 11am – 4pm (Birmingham)

19 March 2019 10am – 4pm (Birmingham)

20 March 2019 10am – 4pm (Birmingham)

21 March 2019 8.30am – 10am (Birmingham)

Photo ID is required

You can contact Nicola Whittaker using the following details: nicola@fellows.co.uk