Magnificent Russian Imperial Orders
to Be Sold at Auction

The Imperial Russian insignia of the White Eagle

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A magnificent group of Russian Imperial Orders presented in 1837 by Tsar Nicholas I to Britain’s Ambassador to Russia, John George Lambton, “Radical Jack”, the first Earl of Durham, will be sold by specialist London auctioneers Morton & Eden in association with Sotheby's on Thursday 10 June 2010. The orders have remained in the family and are being sold by a descendant.

Tom Eden, Director of Morton & Eden, discussing the sale said: “Imperial Russian orders of this period (1830s) are rare and seldom come onto the market. As most orders that have survived have lost their provenance, the Durham orders are exceptional in that they are known to be the ones bestowed on Durham.”

They comprise superb quality insignia of the Orders of St. Andrew (Imperial Russia's premier award), St. Alexander Nevsky, The White Eagle and St. Anne, all made by the celebrated Court manufacturer Emanuel Pannasch. In addition there are related breast stars and miniatures which were privately commissioned by the Earl himself. Amongst these is an exceptionally fine miniature St Andrew collar and badge made by the Russian Court jeweller, Wilhelm Kämmerer.

Lord Durham's other insignia comprise the Belgian Order of Leopold, the Greek Order of the Redeemer and the British Order of the Bath.

The sale of Lord Durham's orders is expected to realise in excess of £500,000.

• The Imperial Russian insignia of St. Alexander Nevsky comprising sash badge with tinsel and metal breast stars awarded to the First Earl of Durham in 1837 by Tsar Nicholas I (Estimate: £80,000-120,000).

• The Imperial Russian insignia of the White Eagle comprising sash badge and metal breast star, awarded to the first Earl of Durham in 1837 by Tsar Nicholas I (Estimate: £80,000-120,000).

• The miniature gold and enamel collar and badge of St. Andrew, by Wilhelm Kämmerer of St. Petersburg, commissioned in 1838 (Estimate: £20,000-30,000).

Morton & Eden Ltd are specialist auctioneers of Collectors’ Coins, Orders and Medals. The company was founded in 2001 by James Morton and Tom Eden, who were both directors of the Coins and Medals Department at Sotheby’s, with whom the company maintains a close association.

Lord Durham The Rt. Hon Sir John George Lambton GCB, Earl of Durham, Viscount Lambton, Baron Durham (1792-1840) was appointed British Ambassador to Russia in 1835. Through his friendship with the Tsar he was able to create a climate of better understanding between St Petersburg and London. One of Durham’s earliest biographers, S. J. Reid, wrote “It was a veritable triumph of personality. The Tsar Nicholas was a shrewd judge of men, and was quick to detect either flattery or dissimulation. Durham’s open nature, his palpable honesty, the moral courage which lurked beneath his conciliatory speech, his broad grasp of first principles, the practical bent of his quick mind, and the imagination which made the sympathy of his warm heart so effective, all appealed to Nicholas.”

The Art Daily
2 May, 2010