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Antique Victorian Silver Chatelaine

  Victorian Silver Chatelaine  

The Chatelaine has its origins in the Middle Ages, when the mistress of the house kept the important keys for her home attached to her belt. It re-gained popularity in the Victorian era when they were made of sterling silver and/or pinchbeck (a gold like material but not gold) and had a number of household items attached to them. This is an excellent example of a 5 chain model. Many of the silver items had different hallmarks on them as pieces were replaced because of damage/loss or there was a wish to 'build up' the overall Chatelaine over a period of time. This chatelaine has its original upper clasps, the chain attachments are from different years but are all contemporaneous.
This Chatelaine is in excellent condition and is of sterling silver, hallmarked Birmingham 1881. It has the maker's initials 'GU' for George Unite
Head of Chatelaine

and all hallmarks are clearly stamped on the back of the belt hanger clasp. There are seven components- a belt hanger, intermediate hanger and 5 appendage chains.


The top belt hanger clasp is cast and has a pair of putti at centre, one reclining over a drinking cup, and both are surrounded by a foliage type design. There is a bottom finial to this part which comprises of a third putto holding a shell motif on the shoulder. Attached to this upper piece by way of two small link chains is the triangular intermediate hanger, which is of filigree ornamentation with a satyr face at the top centre and leaf and branch design. From this intermediate section hang five chains, the longest of which is 6”. These chains all have satyr masks interspersed with a small medallion which has a star design thereon all of which are individually connected by way of small links. At the end of each chain there are domestic utilitarian objects required for use by the housekeeper/mistress of the house.
Belt Clasp centre Hanger George Unite Silver Hallmark
Chain 1 – A pair of small scissors with steel blades, silver handles and encased in an elongated triangular carrying case lined with a velvet-like material. The handles of the scissors are decorated with flower and fauna motifs whilst the carrying case has scroll work on both front and rear surfaces. In the middle of the case on either side is a thespian-style caricature mask with tongue protruding. The case terminates in the face of a mythological animal’s head. The whole is attached to the main chain by way of a double link chain extending from both sides of the case.
Victorian Silver Scissors
Close up of Silver Scissors
Silver Scissors - Close up
Page 2 of Silver Chatelaine Feature

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