They are a full-blown Regency Bacchic model by the royal goldsmiths – the firm responsible for the crown jewels used at the coronations of George IV, William IV and Queen Victoria. The design was supplied to some of the firm’s most illustrious clients.
This pair, estimated at £2000-3000 at Lay’s (21% buyer’s premium) in Penzance on May 4, carry the engraved arms for Edward Hughes Ball Hughes (1798-1863), who, at the age of 21, inherited a fortune that paid him £40,000 a year.
He was known in the society press as the Golden Ball. Such funds afforded a former royal palace in Surrey and furnishings from some of the most fashionable suppliers of the day.
However, Ball Hughes was notorious at the time as a man seemingly oblivious to the value of money. Having gambled away his legacy in just 10 years, he evaded his creditors and his wife by moving to France where he went on to have five children with two other women.