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Locks of hair from Countess Spencer, Princess Diana's ancestor

Four locks of hair from Margaret Georgiana, Countess Spencer (1737 – 1814) ancestrix of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. From a box of photographs and miscellanea, a job lot,  in the extensive sale of property from the Howard Family, Earls of Carlisle held by Thomson Roddick Callan in Carlisle in December, 2022. There was a massive amount of material from this estate sold in 87 lots, some of which went very high in price, but these locks of hair were placed by the cataloguers in a mixed lot.  I purchased them from a bookseller who bought a number of the miscellaneous minor lots. The value and interest of such material is subjective but when I was shown them my reaction was, "wow!" and I could not not buy them.


The locks are stated on the antique envelope to be those of Margaret Georgiana Spencer, Countess Spencer. In 1754, she married John Spencer, a wealthy Whig businessman. The Spencers were ennobled in 1765. The King and the Prince of Wales are both descended from Margaret Georgiana by shared and different lines of descent. 

Locks of hair were articles of gift exchange among the living in eighteenth century English high society and are not considered to be "human remains".



 The first Lady Spencer was known as a philanthropist among her contemporaries. Her daughter, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, heroine of the tv drama, "The Duchess", lived at Chiswick House: one of the wrappers in this lot might be a billet doux to or from one of her lovers (there are no names used to address or sign off the note). The billet doux is on laid paper and has a watermark which has, unfortunately for legibility, been cut in two. The Chiswick House website discussed the love tokens of "The Duchess" on a page marking "Pride" a few years ago. 


The first Lady Spencer's granddaughter, Lady Morpeth, afterwards Countess of Carlisle, was given these tokens of memory and affection at Chiswick House.


Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire was portrayed by the finest painters of her day and her resemblance to the Late Princess Diana has been widely noted.


I photographed the locks under electric light.


PROVENANCE:-

"Thomson Roddick Callan 15th Dec 2022 at 11:30am PHOTOGRAPHY, DRAWINGS & EPHEMERA. Lots 1 to 87 comprise a collection of mainly Victorian photographs in albums and loose; also lantern slides, drawings, sketches, testimonials & other Howard family related items (my Bold).

 i.e. the family and descendants of George Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle..." - The sale catalogue introduction.


Thence to the bookseller I bought these "Howard family related items" from.



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