It had a provenance to Rowland Hill (1772-1842), who commanded troops in the British Army with distinction during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.
Estimated at £600-800 in the Jewellery, Watches & Objects of Vertu sale at Noonans of Mayfair, the fob seal attracted ‘intense bidding’, said the auction house, before being knocked down for £10,000 (plus 24% buyer’s premium).
The private purchaser plans to present the seal to the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. Hill, who was created 1st Viscount Hill of Almaraz and Hardwicke (Shropshire), was born and died in the county.
He was Tory MP for Shrewsbury from 1812-14 although his military duties inevitably meant he could not attend the House of Commons before he became a lord.
The fob seal measured 2in (4.5cm) long with a base of 33 x 28mm, gross weight 37.7gm. It featured a two-colour gold mount decorated with a stippled and roundel border, reeded above and with C-scroll supports topped by foliage beneath the suspension fitting.
The carnelian intaglio was engraved with an achievement of arms beneath a baron’s coronet, incorporating the collar chains of the Orders of the Bath and the Portuguese Tower and Sword.
It was described as being in very good condition, with slight surface wear only.
Hill earned the nickname ‘Daddy Hill’ because of the respect his men had for him. He was rated highly by
Wellington and became his most trusted general in the Peninsular War (1808-14).
His career, which stretched back to the Siege of Toulon in 1793, later featured service in Portugal and Spain. By 1810 he commanded a corps and won victories including Almaraz in 1813. Hill played a crucial role in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 when he commanded one of Wellington’s two corps. He led the charge of Sir Frederick Adam’s brigade against the Imperial Guard, with great courage.
In 1828 Hill replaced Wellington as general commander in chief when the Iron Duke became prime minister.