An antique dealer in LYMINGTON has found a silver presentation bowl that once belonged to King William IV and has been missing since it was won in a yacht race in 1835.
The bowl, which was presented by the King to the Royal Yacht Squadron based in Cowes, Isle of Wight, during its annual race, was known as the King’s Cup.
That year, the winner was Irishman John Smith-Barry in his 90-ton yacht Columbine.
An account from the time stated how “the beautiful cup of Her gracious Majesty will for the first time find its way to the sister island and adorn the buffet of the hospitable and liberal owner of Cove Island in Cork Harbor”.
The bowl features the royal coat of arms and has two handles in the shape of a ship’s bow, one with a crowned lion and the other with a unicorn wearing an office chain.
Charles Wallrock of Lymington’s Wick Antiques, himself an avid yachting enthusiast, purchased the piece in the United States. He said: “This is a superb and exceptional vermeil bowl presented by the King to the Royal Yacht Squadron. For me it is not getting any better, and I am very proud to have brought it back to the UK. is an important part of our nautical heritage.
He added: “The King had served in the Royal Navy in his youth and in 1827 was appointed Lord High Admiral, three years before he inherited the throne and presented the first of his cups.
“Research strongly suggests that this is the bowl won in 1835 by John Smith-Barry from Fota House, a magnificent regency mansion on an island in Cork Harbor. The mansion was sold by the family to University College, Cork, in 1975 and has since been restored and is open to the public. How and when the trophy ended up in the United States is not clear, but when I saw it on sale I realized its importance. “
The bowl was made by goldsmith William Bateman and includes the inscription “Rundell Bridge and Co, Aurifices Regis Londoni”.
Charles added: “It is of supreme quality. There are many collectors and institutions that would like to add it to [their] collections. “
It will go on sale at the Chelsea Antiques Fair – which ends Sunday – for £ 78,000.