THE CAPTAIN, THE TEAPOT AND THE AUTHOR
As a captain in the Royal Navy, Captain Corbet James D’Auvergne, led a very successful career on the high seas, which culminated in him being named the first Governor of Heligoland, formerly a British archipelago.
In celebration of this auspicious event, an intricately decorated sterling silver teapot was gifted to D’Auvergne. It features the D’Auvergne family crest and inscription that reads:
‘As a token of their regard, affection and gratitude, presented by the Magistrates, Quartermasters and Aldermen of Heligoland to Corbet James D’Auvergne Esq, Captain of the Royal Navy. The first and dearly beloved Governor under the British Protection, Feb 1808.’
The Georgian teapot, dated Sheffield 1802, is a historically important piece of early nineteenth century sterling silver. It is dedicated to Captain Corbet James D’Auvergne, who was not only a celebrated figure of the British Royal Navy, but a man who could also lay claim to knowing one of the most famous British authors in the history of modern literature.
Aside from his military successes, Captain D’Auvergne seems to have had a rather close connection to Jane Austen and her family. In her published letters, Jane Austen mentions Captain Corbet James D’Auvergne to her sister on two occasions, once in 1808 and again in 1809. In the first instance, an amused Austen tells her sister that she was asked to dance by a gentleman who had accompanied their friend D’Auvergne to a recent ball. The casual, candid manner in which Austen mentions the captain in her writing suggests that he knew the Austen family well. D’Auvergne may have first been acquainted with the Austen’s through Jane’s brother, also a navy man.
On offer in our upcoming Art*Asian*Jewels auction to be held on Sunday 10 April, 11am