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Telescope Belonging to William "The Sailor King" to Be Offered in Maritime Sale
Signed J&W Watkins/Charing Crofs/LONDON, the telescope is further inscribed This glafs belonged to/His Majesty William the 4th/when he was at Sea/was given by him/to Lord Adolphus Fitz Clarence/who gave it to/Berkley Paget/1831.

LONDON.- An important sailing telescope that belonged to H.R.H King William IV – known as ‘The Sailor King’ - will be offered by Charles Miller Ltd on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 in his sale of Maritime & Scientific Models, Instruments & Art in London (25, Blythe Road, W14).

Signed J&W Watkins/Charing Crofs/LONDON, the telescope is further inscribed This glafs belonged to/His Majesty William the 4th/when he was at Sea/was given by him/to Lord Adolphus Fitz Clarence/who gave it to/Berkley Paget/1831. Jeremiah and Walter Watkins only worked between 1794 and 1798 from 5 Charring Cross, London and were telescope makers by Royal Appointment to the Duke and Duchess of York and the Duke of Clarence, later William IV. The lot offered here bears a striking resemblance to the instrument held by the Duke while wearing his full dress naval uniform in the famous portrait painted by Sir Martin Archer Shee, circa 1800 See illustration. The telescope is being sold by a descendant of The Hon Berkley Paget and is expected to fetch £3,000-5,000.

Lord Adolphus Fitz Clarence (1802-1856) was the seventh child (fourth son) of the Duke of Clarence. He was sent to sea at the age of eleven and subsequently commanded the Royal Yacht until 1853. The Hon Berkely Paget (1780-1842) was the younger brother of Henry Paget (Marquis of Anglesea) and Sir Charles Paget who commanded the Royal Yacht. It is presumed that Berkeley made the acquaintance of Lord Adolphus through his elder brother although in his own right he was a successful politician serving as MP for Anglesey from 1807 and later Milborne Port in 1820, and was a Lord of the Treasury between 1810-1826.

Also included in the sale is a remarkable Private album taken by Captain W.T Turner, who was captain of Cunard Liners Mauretania and Lusitania and was subsequently made a scapegoat for the Lusitania tragedy on 7th May 1915 when it was torpedoed by a German submarine U-20 and sank within 20 minutes with the loss of 1,200.

Estimated at £3,000-5,000, the fascinating album is believed to date from between 1904-10 and comprises approximately 400 private views taken by and of Turner. Most photographs are pasted along top edge and annotated with characters and locations in pencil to reverse, approximately half taken aboard various commands mostly Mauretania but with several hitherto unseen views from Lusitania. Also interesting scenes taken opportunistically, including several views of the wreck of the U.S.S. Maine; several dockyard views of luggage being loaded; the boat train dining car; Turner posing with various passengers or relations, often wearing his hat or tunic, or of Turner taking a sight with his sextant.

As Charles Miller comments: “Not intended to be of interest to any but himself and family, this wonderful album captures a rare view of the private side of a liner captain from the 'Golden Age'. Frequently larking around, Turner is often shot with a pretty girl, who is wearing his hat, or lying in a hammock. He was clearly a happy man and his sense of humour is much in evidence. One of the more striking shots is a view of Turner climbing the rigging of the main mast of Lusitania and holding his camera, the next view is the shot of the funnels and deck taken from that location. These rare views are unknown and unpublished, providing a wealth of interesting material about Cunard’s most tragic Captain. “

Charles Miller Ltd’s sale will comprise over 250 lots including Scientific and Navigational Instruments and Marine Works of Art.

Several pieces relating to exploration will be included, and of note is a rare blue stoneware beer jug inscribed DISCOVERY from the British Arctic Expedition (1875-6) by W. T. Copeland & Sons, who produced special services for both H.M.Ships Alert and Discovery is estimated at £1,000-1,500.

Elsewhere an Historically interesting 1:16 scale working demonstration aluminium and brass model of the Tunnelling Shield used to excavate the Rotherhithe Tunnel and inspected by the Prince and Princess of Wales at the opening on June 12, 1908 is estimated to fetch £1,000-1,500.

A fascinating journal, bound in its original sail cloth and hand-written by 20-year-old John Griffiths, who left Bangor in North Wales, via Gravesend, for a new life in New Zealand in 1863 carries an estimate of £300-500. Griffiths wrote this witty account of everyday life on the 1351 ton ‘Indian Empire’ giving insightful and amusing cameos of both passengers and crew. Unfortunately Griffiths never made it to New Zealand and is buried at sea just south-east of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic.

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