This 3in (7cm) silver-gilt George II bell by Francis Garthorne, London, c.1727, bears the inscription One of the bells belonging to the canopy born over King George the Second at his Coronation. Given to the Lady Eliz Germain by the Hon George Berkeley her brother, one of the Barons of the Cinque Ports.
It came by descent for a timely sale at Woolley & Wallis in Salisbury on April 19 where, estimated at £7000-10,000, it took £7200 (plus 25% buyer’s premium) from a London dealer.
This bell came by family descent from Lady Elizabeth Germain to Col Sir Joseph Weld, Lulworth, Dorset (d.1992) and then to the present owner.
A small group of coronation bells survive today, of which the earliest example is thought to have been used at the coronation of Charles II in 1660.
A similar George II bell with a later baluster handle added in c.1740 sold at Christie’s for £11,000 in November 2009 as part of the property of the Duke of Kent.
At the coronation of George II, held on October 11, 1727, the Canopy of State was carried by the members of parliament of the Cinque Ports – a right established during the reign of Edward I.
It was in his position as MP for Dover that George Berkeley (d.1746) was appointed as a canopy bearer.