SITWELL, Dame Edith, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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Edith Sitwell insures her jewellery and furs

SITWELL, Dame Edith (1887-1964). Poet and critic.
Series of eighteen letters, six in the third person, to her insurance brokers, largely relating to jewellery purchases, 38 pages small 4to, 1954-1964. All to the Atlas Insurance Company, some to named individuals, together with five letters written on her behalf by secretaries, and a valuation certificate from Cameo Corner, 1958.

Edith Sitwell was well-known for her extravagant taste in jewellery, and this correspondence shows how seriously she took the question of valuing her new purchases, very many of them from Cameo Corner in Museum Street, London. Dame Edith (who, as ever, insists that she should be properly identified as 'Dame' or 'D.B.E.'), describes the individual purchases in her letters, and is most particular to ensure that she has full insurance cover when travelling abroad. The letters reveal not only an enthusiastic collector but a remarkably business-like personality.

'... When the Manager was so kind as to insure Dame Edith's Jewellery some time ago, amongst the items was a Renaissance pendant, consisting of a Queen's Head carved out of a garnet, with a gold crown, and surrounded by branches with flowers of white enamel with centres of rubies. (To this subsequently added a brooch - value £65, I think, if I remember rightly, from Cameo Corner. ...The whole jewel was inadequately priced at the moment. Dame Edith's secretary, Miss Salter, took it the other day, to be valued at Messrs. Philipps, the antique jewellers, of New Bond Street, and they said that although it was impossible, really, to price it, as it is a work of art, they would sell it for £600. ...'
'.. a deep blue, square-oblong aquamarine ring, purchased for £160.
'... my sable-dyed Rolinsky coat, bought by me for £82. 19s.
'... I have just (with my Guinness prize) bought two new rings from Cameo Corner ... the amount I shall pay for these will be either £175 or £180.
'... One ring is an amethyst surrounded by diamonds, the other a ring of small pearls with a few tiny diamonds interspersed.
... Incidentally, I changed the amethyst ring, and the pearl ring that I bought last autumn, for a topaz & pearl ring, and three half hoop pearl rings. These came to £25 less than the others, but I shall, when I have been televised, get another ring which will increase that sum. etc. etc. ...'

The letters are variously written from Renishaw Hall, The Sesame and Imperial Club, and Chicago, and all bear the received-stamp of the Leeds branch of the insurers, some being annotated with financial calculations in pencil.

£2500 [No: 26607]
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