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Lot 1365: A rare enamelled gold neck badge of the Secretary of the Order of the Thistle
December 1, 2016
Lewes, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: A rare enamelled gold neck badge of the Secretary of the Order of the Thistle late 19th/early 20th century, high carat gold and enamel, 3.75in. and a matching gilt and enamel breast badge, 2.5in.
One side with some loss of the white enamel beneath the crown and a patch of green enamel missing at 5 o'clock.
Other side with smaller losses to the white enamel beneath the crown but more extensive losses to the green near 5 -7 o'clock.
Central feather saltire cross in broken away at both nibs so slightly wobbly.
Gilt badge in good order.
Descriptions provided in both printed and on-line catalogue formats do not include condition reports. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Interested bidders are strongly encouraged to request a condition report on any lots upon which they intend to bid, prior to placing a bid. All transactions are governed by Gorringes Conditions of Sale.
The date of the foundation of the Order of the Thistle is not known, although legend has it that it was founded in 809 when King Achaius made an alliance with the Emperor Charlemagne.
It is possible that the Order may have been founded by James III (1488-1513), who was responsible for changes in Royal symbolism in Scotland, including the adoption of the thistle as the Royal plant badge.
James II (James VII of Scotland) established the Order with a statutory foundation under new rules in 1687 - to reward Scottish peers who supported the king''s political and religious aims.
The King of Scotland was the Sovereign of the Order, and twelve knights were to be appointed, later expanded to sixteen. Queens were originally excluded unless it was a queen regnant, but George VI made his queen a member in 1937, and in 1987 Elizabeth II allowed women to become regular members of the Order of the Thistle (doing the same for England's Order of the Garter at the same time). Outside the sixteen-member limit are a small number of extra knights from the ranks of the Royal Family.
Aside from the Sovereign and the knights, there are a number of officers appointed. The Dean of the Thistle is given the style of "The Very Reverend" and from 1886 until 1969 the Dean of the Chapel Royal was given this role, now wisely separate. The Chancellor is usually appointed from among the knights and tends to be one of the more senior members. The Gentleman Usher of the Green Rod is the order's usher and the office is usually granted to a retired military man with a long record of service. Lord Lyon King of Arms, Scotland's senior herald, is the King of Arms of the Order of the Thistle. There is also a Secretary of The Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, currently Mrs Elizabeth Ann Roads LVO OStJ FSA.
The Secretary''s badge has white feathers replacing the saltire cross.