I completely missed this at the time but I see now that, after her death in May 2014, Mary Stewart’s family put some of her rare books and jewellery to auction. Lyon & Turnbull of Edinburgh have auctioned items ranging from books with illustrations by Arthur Rackham to Asian artworks to specially-commissioned Moon-Spinners jewellery. The auction was covered in the press, for example this article in The Herald (Scotland) dated 17 November 2014. I particularly like that her niece Jennifer Ogden says that Mary Stewart had “a wicked sense of humour”.

You can see that the newspaper article was taken largely from the informative Lyon & Turnbull piece on Mary Stewart here: this article also contains links to the items auctioned. I enjoyed reading on the Lyon and Turnbull website how Mary Stewart prohibited Hodder & Stoughton from editing her writing.

Perhaps it is as well that I was unaware of these auctions at the time: I may have been tempted to buy myself a Mary Stewart keepsake that I could ill afford… In all likelihood I would have entered a bidding war on the cheapest jewellery item, this quite simple brooch that sold for £130:

mary-stewart-brooch-photo-from-lyon-and-turnbull
Mary Stewart brooch with pearls and peridot. Photo copyright Lyon and Turnbull

And this, totally and utterly out of my price range, is the jewellery Mary Stewart commissioned from Cartier to celebrate publication of The Moon-Spinners, with diamonds aplenty:

It’s great that Mary Stewart celebrated each of her books with the purchase of jewellery, and I wonder if she commissioned any other designs – a stylised ivy tree perhaps? From now on, I will be studying photos of Mary Stewart more closely, to see what jewellery she was wearing!

POSTSCRIPT 1: The Moon-Spinners brooch has, already, been up for sale again, as you can see in this article on the website of Birmingham and London auction house Fellows.

POSTSCRIPT 2: And here she is – on the back cover of The Crystal Cave (Hodder & Stoughton 1st edition, 1970) she is photographed wearing the camellia brooch, which is even more huge than I had realised. It is possible she is wearing the Moon-Spinners ring too, by which I mean that I’ve put my glasses on, squinted at it and can’t decide one way or the other…

back-cover-of-the-crystal-cave-by-mary-stewart-hodder-stoughton-1970-photographer-unknown
Mary Stewart on the back cover of The Crystal Cave, Hodder & Stoughton, 1970. Photographer unknown

 

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