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Garter Collar and Great George

George 1661; collar c.1685

RCIN 441924

This magnificent Great George was made for Charles II by the Royal Goldsmith Robert Vyner, who also made the new regalia for Charles II’s coronation in 1661. At the time it was described as “A v. large enamelled George set with 20 large diamonds and one hundred and odd lesser diamonds”. Charles II is depicted wearing this Great George, together with the new coronation regalia, in John Michael Wright’s portrait of c.1676. The collar, most likely made for James II in 1685, is the third oldest Garter collar to survive. Both collar and George were taken by James II into exile in France in 1688. They remained in the possession of the exiled Stuarts, only returning to Britain after the death of James II’s grandson Henry Benedict, Cardinal York, in 1807.

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