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This interest led to the formation of a number of archery societies to promote it, the most prestigious of which was the Royal British Bowmen Society. It was founded by Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, who hosted competitions on his estate at Wynnstay with the Prince of Wales, later George IV, as an early member and subsequently its patron. The competitions took place in the morning and afternoon, divided by interludes for dining, and in the evening, singing and dancing. The society offered bugles as prizes for men while women received gold medallions. The first event took place on October 6, 1788, and the Society was disbanded in 1794 when its members were called on for military engagements.

This particular example, which featured in Sotheby’s November 8 silver sale, was given by HRH George, Prince of Wales for a competition at Acton Park in September 1790. Attributed to Royal goldsmiths Jeffreys and Jones, it was won by Robert Hesketh Esqr. who shot successfully at 63, 96 and 128 yards, as recorded in its inscription.

Entered by descendants of the winner, the bugle came in its original case and appeared hardly ever to have left it, being, according to Sotheby’s Peter Waldren, “in stupendous condition”. No surprises then, to see its £2000-3000 estimate left behind, with the bidding trebling that level at £6500, paid by a private buyer.