Rare Royal Commemoratives
By Anthony and Alison Warren

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The two beakers, to the left of the photographs below, were produced by Aller Vale for the coronation of King Edward VII, in 1902. Aller Vale produced many hundreds of such commemoratives for this event for various schools, villages and towns up and down the country; some of which are easier to find than others. Both pieces have the conventional decoration found on theses beakers; roses, thistles and shamrocks (for England, Scotland and Ireland) surrounding sprigged heads of King Edward and Queen Alexandra. However, it is the sprigged coat of arms and shield, on their reverse sides, that make them more unusual.

The beaker on the left carries the coat of arms of the Torquay Borough Council, which is beautifully executed and must have been extremely difficult to make and apply to the pot without any damage, owing to the fine detailing of the sprig. This is surrounded by the sgraffito inscription ‘Borough of Torquay’. We only know of this one beaker decorated in this way but have seen a similar single handled mug. This makes us wonder if they may have been made as samples, in the hope of securing an order, which otherwise  may have been given to another manufacturer.

The beaker in the middle is another example produced by Aller Vale, for the same coronation, but on the reverse, has a sprigged shield for the county of Devon and the inscription ‘Parish of Halwill’. Halwill is just a tiny village north- west Devon, approximately 20 miles form Okehampton. At the time this beaker was produced there were very few people living in the village of Halwill, which, may explain why we have not seen another example of this pot

The third beaker, also by Aller Vale, on the right of the pictures, is a lovely piece which is mentioned in the TORQUAY COMMEMORATIVES AND ADVERTISING WARES book (TPCS Book available form the products manager); which states that these beakers are known to exist but are extremely rare. So we thought it would be pleasant for members to see a photograph of an example. The beaker is beautifully decorated with B1 scrolls and a small sprigged shield on the front and the inscription ‘TRH Duke and Duchess of York July 4th 1899’ and a motto below the shield that reads ‘SEMPER FIDELIS’. We have seen another example of this beaker where the coloured scrolls terminate as dolphins; the front also being slightly different. It has a sgraffito crown above the shield but bears no names or dates as ours does.

Despite researching to discover where, and to whom, these beakers were given, we have only been able to confirm that the Duke and Duchess of York were in Exeter on 4th July 1899, while attending various ceremonial openings; such as the new wing of the Exeter Museum and an extension to the old Royal Devon an Exeter Hospital. So at present we cannot pinpoint the exact event or recipients of the beakers.

Updated 20 March 2008