Provenance Research, please

It is a rainy day so I thought I would do some family research on a little box and its contents I found at Mum’s and brought back with me.

The small 4″ x 3″ cardboard box held together with old sellotape – from Messrs Combes & Van Roden, 1113 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.

The contents plus a folded up letter, an explanation bit of paper and a silver seal.

The seal is of a squirrel sejant eating or cracking a nut sitting on a branch, with possibly 3 nuts close by.

This is the letter…..

The Cedars
West Chop
Martha’s Vineyard

July 2 1927

My dear Kate
Do you remember a Seal I wore on my watch chain? It was given me by Ellen Terry, and had been the property of Lord Nelson. I have no document proving this: While …..

Terry’s statement was positive, I had it examined in London and was told it was made in Nelson’s time. Then I asked Combes and Van Roden Jewellers in Phila(delphia) to send this to you.
It should be in England in your possession. Wear it, do with it as you will.
We have much cold stormy weather, with some fine days.
People are coming, so are other mosquitos!
I can’t help it. Too cold for me to swim yet.
Keep well and happy.
With love affectionately
Edward Parker Davis

If you can make out the words or see any I have got wrong, please tell me so I can correct this.

For Christmas, Floss had given me, amongst other lovely things, some sealing wax pellets.  So without a small melter, OH and I looked around and he ate a mince-pie and I used the holder.

It wasn’t melting very quick or well, so OH improvised a lid!

And eventually with some additional matches and cursing, we managed a good waxy blob.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered to lick the stamp first and ta-da!  Now only two nuts and a something else.

I have looked everywhere on the internet for Lord Nelson’s family seal and came up with just this. Not very squirrely really.

I researched Ellen Terry and any relationship to Lord Nelson and found only this in a book titled Edith Craig and the Theatres of Art By Katharine Cockin.   I have emailed the NY Players Club to see if they have a Nelson Collection as well as anything gifted by Ellen Terry.

So, anyone into English heraldry?  If so, can you help?

Is this really Lord Nelson’s seal or is it a case of London Bridge spanning Lake Havasu in Arizona all over again?

(Btw, I think I love seals and sealing wax. I want my “family” crest. I shall get designing – I see sheep, Shetland ponies, two terriers, a large cat…..)

14 thoughts on “Provenance Research, please

  1. Christine

    When is British Antique Roadshow coming to Shetland? Ha! Probably not happening soon. However, there should be a Lord Nelson history researcher or archivist who could help you out.
    You have the most interesting collection of family memorabilia of anyone I know.

  2. Barbara M. In NH

    That is fascinating! I think it should be “much cold stormy weather” …. But I can’t see any other words that are different from your transcription.


    Do you know anything about Edward Parker Davis? He may have been an obstetrician which may explain how he knew Ellen Terry. I did a google search, the link below.

  4. Shelley

    Google Lord Nelson’s seal. There’s a photo on Pinterest of a seal he used on a letter to Lady Hamilton.
    There’s also a letter at The Nelson Society that is supposedly a forgery.
    It has a seal on the letter itself. I’d comb through The NS- it’s a font of info.

  5. Greig Sinclair

    Just a bit of local history from a Shetlander living in Kent.
    Ellen Terry lived in Smallhythe, a village adjoining Tenterden in Kent. St Mildred’s is the Tenterden church. The wife of Philip Ward (Vicar 1830-59) was Horatia, daughter of Lord Nelson.
    The emblem of Tenterden Golf Club is a squirrel.
    Hopefully, should be a starting point for any research.

  6. Cathy

    You need to look at the BBC news website this morning (Tuesday.) A gold ring with the same motif dating from the 1500’s has just been found !!


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