Object of the Day: A Souvenir of the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary, 1911

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Things have gotten quite muggy here at Bertie’s house. No, not just because of the humid weather, but because of the introduction of nearly a dozen new pieces of Royal Memorabilia to my increasingly large collection of such items. Thanks to my parents, my study is now filled with even more little Royal visages—particularly of George V and my personal favorite, Queen Mary.

I’ve written at length about my fondness for Queen Mary—the seemingly steely one-time Queen Mother and fierce collector of important antiquities. George V was equally fierce in a different way. He inherited the throne at a time of political and social turmoil and led his nation through the chaos of the First World War. Known to the current Queen as “Grandfather England,” George V guided both Britain and his family through a very difficult period and is responsible, in many ways, for the current face of the Royal Family and the Empire.

I do so enjoy having these Royal souvenirs around me and can’t help but smile when I look at them. They connect me to a history which means so much to me. While Britain is not my country of origin, I feel a strong kinship with its history and the way in which the story of the Empire fits into the great puzzle of world culture.

This mug is particularly special to me. At one point I had my hands on it and when we were checking out, it was accidentally separated from our purchases. So, I’m especially glad to have it. While it does not have a maker’s mark, it is dated, 1911, and it’s an unusual example of a Coronation mug of the period. It is not only brightly-colored, but decorated with English roses. With its fine images and unusual color scheme, it has a visual strength which nicely represents the power of a very important reign.


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