Orders, Decorations and Medals (12 June 1991)

Date of Auction: 12th June 1991

Sold for £6,000

Estimate: £4,000 - £6,000

The important and unique miniature jewel of Admiral Lord Viscount Exmouth, G.C.B., Royal Navy, Suppressor of Christian Slavery and Victor at Algiers. The circular gold medallion with six exquisitely enamelled miniature orders superimposed on a background of translucent blue enamel, bordered by a wreath of laurel leaves, with integral loop for suspension, the reverse in plain gold:-

i THE MOST HONOURABLE MILITARY ORDER OF THE BATH.
ii Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, ORDER OF ST. FERDINAND AND OF MERIT.
iii Kingdom of Sardinia, SUPREME ORDER OF THE ANNUNCIATION.
iv Kingdom of Sardinia, ORDER OF ST. MAURICE AND ST. LAZARUS.
v Spain, ROYAL AND DISTINGUISHED ORDER OF CHARLES THE THIRD.
vi Kingdom of the United Netherlands, MILITARY ORDER OF WILHELM. Executed throughout with the highest quality workmanship, in gold and enamels, 55 mm diameter, circa 1820, extremely fine

Footnote

Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exinouth and Admiral in His Majesty's Royal Navy, was born at Dover in 1757. He entered the navy in 1770 and first saw action during the American War of Independence in 1776, on Lake Champlain. In the summer of 1777 he was present in the fighting at Saratoga, where his youngest brother, John, was killed, and he himself taken prisoner. He served with great distinction in the war with France and by the time of its conclusion in 1815, Pellew had been knighted and raised to the peerage as Baron Exmouth of Canonteign. On 2 January 1815 he was nominated K.C.B., from which he was advanced a few months later to a G.C.B.

Exmouth at Algiers

Early in 1816 Exmouth was ordered to visit the several North African powers and claim the release of all British subjects being held in slavery. This was granted without difficulty by Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, but the Dey of Algiers resolutely refused to abolish Christian slavery. The ensuing battle of Algiers succeeded where diplomacy had failed, with the release of some three thousand slaves, mostly Italians and Spaniards, and signalled the end of Christian slavery in Europe. High honours were bestowed on Exmouth by the several states of Christendom in recognition of his great achievements. He was raised to the dignity of a Viscount by King George the Third, and presented with the freedom of the City of London, together with a sword richly ornamented with diamonds. The Pope, Pius VII, sent him a valuable gold mounted cameo. He received the insignia of the highest grades of the orders, of Charles the Third, of St. Ferdinand and of Merit, of the Annunciation, of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus, and of Wilhelm of the Netherlands. From 1817 to 1821 Exmouth was commander-in-chief at Plymouth, after which he had no further service. He was appointed Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom in February 1832, but died during his term, at Teignmouth on 23 February 1833.