King's Cup, lost since 1835 and found by Lymington antiques dealer, on sale Chelsea Antiques Fair for £78,000
A LYMINGTON antiques dealer has tracked down a silver presentation bowl once owned by King William IV which has been missing since it was won in a yacht race in 1835.
The bowl, which was presented by the King to the Royal Yacht Squadron based in Cowes, Isle of Wight, at its annual race, was known as the King's Cup.
That year the winner was Irishman John Smith-Barry in his 90-ton yacht, Columbine.
An account from the time stated how "his gracious majesty’s beautiful cup will for the first time find its way to the sister isle, and grace the sideboard of the hospitable and liberal proprietor of Cove Island in Cork Harbour".
The bowl includes the royal coat of arms and has two handles in the form of a ship’s prow, one with a crowned lion and the other with a unicorn wearing a chain of office.
Charles Wallrock of Lymington's Wick Antiques, himself a keen yachtsman, bought the piece from the US. He said: "This is a superb and outstanding silver gilt bowl presented by the King to the Royal Yacht Squadron. For me it does not get any better, and I am very proud to have brought it back home to the UK. It is an important part of our nautical heritage.
He added: "The King had served in the Royal Navy in his youth and in 1827 was appointed as Lord High Admiral, three years before he inherited the throne and presented the first of his cups.
“Research strongly suggests this is the bowl won in 1835 by John Smith-Barry of Fota House, a stunning regency mansion situated on an island in Cork Harbour. The mansion was sold by the family to University College, Cork, in 1975 and has since been restored and is open to the public. How and when the trophy ended up in the US is unclear, but when I saw it for sale I realised its importance."
The bowl was made by silversmith William Bateman and includes the inscription ‘Rundell Bridge et Co, Aurifices Regis Londoni’.
Charles added: "It is of supreme quality. There are many collectors and institutions who would love to add this to [their] collections.”
It will be on sale at the Chelsea Antiques Fair – which ends on Sunday – with a price tag of £78,000.