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Morton & Eden Ltd
Auction 90  23 Nov 2017
Presale bidding closed

Lot 84

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Estimate: 40000 GBP

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Iran, Persian Empire, The Royal Persian Order of the Lion and the Sun, an early Collar Chain and Collar Badge, of Persian manufacture, Tehran, 1820-30, in gold and enamels; the Collar comprising 24 alternating links in the form of decorated star-framed oval lions couchant right, with sun rising behind (12, each 61 mm width), and crossed pairs of bows and quiver of arrows, with shamshir type sword across (12, each 73 mm width), with simple hook fastener and eye for the suspension of the badge, all 24 links plainly enamelled on their reverses also and the lion links with oval gold backing pieces (of which 3 are now missing), some enamel loss and repair to several links but a spectacular early Collar of exceptional and delicate workmanship; with circular Collar Badge, of hollow construction, in gold with blue and green translucent enamels, finely-worked lion couchant in high relief right before radiant sun [this now with plain centre, probably formerly enamelled with a sun-face], with hook-and-ring suspension for attachment to the Collar, the reverse in plain gold, 70.5mm (including suspension) x 54mm, good very fine, an early Collar and Badge of magnificent craftsmanship, style and detail, excessively rare (2). Awarded by the Shah of Persia to Lieutenant-General Sir William Keir Grant, K.C.B., K.C.H. and Knight of the Imperial Austrian Military Order of Maria Theresa 'in consideration of his distinguished Services in The Persian Gulf', following his successful suppression of piracy the Persian Gulf and the signing of the Treaty of 1820. While the precise date of the award has not been traced it was acknowledged by William IV under a Royal Licence dated 24 October 1831 (for further details see Carlisle, N., A Concise Account Of The Several Foreign Orders Of Knighthood..., London, 1839, reprinted by the Naval and Military Press). Awarded to Major-General Sir William Keir Grant K.C.B., G.C.H., 6th Dragoon Guards, late 15th Light Dragoons, who became Colonel of the Royal Scots Greys. William Keir (later Keir Grant) was one of just eight Officers of the 15th Light Dragoons to receive the spectacular gold Ehrenmedaille für Englische Kavalleriste, expressly awarded by the Holy Roman Emperor, Francis II, for gallantry in saving him personally from capture by French forces at the Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies (which is variously spelled in historical records), near Cambrai, in 1794. As it so happened, Keir Grant was later to become the recipient of an equally rare honour – the Collar and insignia of the Order of the Lion and Sun of Persia - for commanding a major British military expedition to the 'Pirate Coast' on the south-eastern Persian Gulf. Having roundly defeated the enemy and pacified the pirate stronghold of Ras al-Khaimah, Keir Grant succeeded in securing an agreement with a number of important tribal leaders, leading to an historic Peace Treaty of 1820 which heralded local truces and the foundation of the Trucial Sheikhdoms as well as the abolition of the Slave Trade in the area. Modifications to the Treaty and a full revision many decades later, in 1892, contributed to an enhanced British presence in the Southern Gulf and important new relationships with the Trucial Sheikhdoms. A loose British Protectorate was to last until the gaining of their independence on 2 December 1970, in turn leading to the creation of the United Arab Emirates.
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