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“On first impressions, it looked to be just gilt metal, a bit of a novelty but nothing special,” she said.

“After cleaning it turned out to be stunning – made of silver with silver gilt detail, initialled to the front with a diamond-set ‘W’ beneath a ducal coronet. A full hallmark confirmed that the piece had been made in 1838 by Robert Garrard.”

Behind the silk lining a barely visible inscription was found which read: This crown was presented by Arthur Duke of Wellington to the Hon MA Jervis, designed by him and executed by Messrs Garrard August 16th 1838.

The consignor was a direct descendant of Lady Mary Ann Jervis (1812-93), a beautiful and unconventional aristocrat who was also an accomplished singer, dancer, musician and composer. The Iron Duke – the nation’s most eligible widower – enjoyed his flirtation with ‘the Syren’, as he nicknamed her, adding dryly: “What is the point of being 67 if one cannot speak to a young lady?”

Lady Mary Ann was married twice: in 1840 to David Ochterlony Dyce Sombre (the first British MP of Asian descent) and in 1862 to George Weld-Forester, 3rd Baron Forester.

Included in DNW’s auction of Jewellery, Watches and Objects of Vertu sale on March 27 in London with an estimate of £2000-3000, it sold at £7500 (plus 20% buyer’s premium).