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This diminutive 3in (8cm) high silver picture frame above – pierced and engraved with the VR monogram and with a monochrome print of Queen Victoria – is believed to be one of a number commissioned by the royal household and given as tokens of appreciation.

Hallmarked for London 1885, the frame is stamped to the reverse Thornhill & Co, 114 New Bond St and bears the date 1882 to the base. The year was an auspicious one for the queen: she passed 45 years on the throne – thereby becoming the longest-reigning female ruler at that time – and escaped unhurt when an attempt was made on her life.

The frame has been consigned to Essex saleroom Sworders as part of the collection of Bryan and Valerie Steele and will be offered on June 25 estimated at £250-450.


A series of 10 photographic plate negatives offered at Rowley’s of Ely on June 1 will include an image of the Irish aviator Lady Bailey (1890-1960), who became the first woman to pilot a glider in England.

Born in Ireland to aristocratic parents, Mary Bailey was known as one of the finest aviatrices of her age. According to Time magazine, she “personally guided a plane from England to the nether tip of South Africa and back”. In January 1930 – three months before this image was captured – she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Another photographic negative in the group features the famous pilot Amy Johnson (1903-41).

Estimate £300-500.

rowleyfineart.com or see this item on thesaleroom.com

A copy of ‘the world’s smallest dictionary’ will be offered for sale on June 4 at Cheltenham saleroom Cotswold Auction Company.

Bryce’s English Dictionary, published in c.1890, has a reported 13,000 definitions and comes in a purpose-built locket fitted with a magnifying glass. The book is about 3cm high.

Estimate £50-80.

cotswoldauction.co.uk or see this item on thesaleroom.com

This charcoal portrait above depicts the British socialist, economist and reformer Sidney James Webb (1859-1947), 1st Baron Passfield, who co-founded the London School of Economics

Along with George Bernard Shaw, Webb was also one of the early members of the Fabian Society, and with his wife Beatrice launched the New Statesman magazine in 1913.

The likeness was drawn in 1923 by Philip Naviasky (1894-1983). It will go under the hammer on June 7 at Scarborough saleroom David Duggleby.

Estimate £200-300.

davidduggleby.com or see this item on thesaleroom.com