A pair of Jacobite silk garters
circa 1745, woven with tartan detail and inscription 'GOD BLESS P.C AND DOWN WITH RUMP, both still joined as one ribbon
24cm x 3cm
Estimate £ 3,000-5,000
It was the Jacobites who popularised the wearing of silk garters emblazoned with slogans supporting their political cause. While the uprising itself came to a head in 1745, feelings did not dampen straight afterwards and indeed the production of these garters was at its highest point during the ten years after the uprising and its culmination at Culloden.
There are many differing opinions as to where these pieces were produced, however Manchester seems to be the most likely location. There are references to the production of similar items in various local publications, including the Manchester Magazine in 30th December 1746 in which a satirical letter appeared stating 'Several looms have lately been employed to furnish watch strings and garters with this elegant motto ''God preserve P.C and down with the rump''.
The slogan was a popular one amongst Bonnie Prince Charlie's supporters, the rump being a derogatory term for the Hanoverian establishment against which they were fighting; it was recorded by the same magazine in 1748 that it was used by Jacobite supporters during a riot in the city. While this was a more public display of contempt for the Hanoverians, these garters were more likely to have been worn at secret meetings of the Bonnie Prince's supporters, rather than during public appearances which would have proved dangerous.
There are few examples of the garters which have survived, however the Victoria & Albert Museum have an example from the same period featuring the motto 'Our prince in brave and our course is just.' (T.121-1931), as well as a pin cushion with the same motto as our lot (T.120-1931). A pair, of identical form, are also in the British Museum's collection (1893,0205.58). However, the condition and fact that the garters have yet to be separated makes this example more unusual.
Sold for £3,750 (buyer's premium included)