a wedding present for stanley
STANLEY, Henry Morton. Commemorative gardening tools, presented to Stanley.
These miniatures of a spade and fork were custom-made to a unique design combining hallmarked sterling silver (Birmingham, Thomas Prime & Son, 1890) with the handles made of one piece of ebony each, the tools measure 27.7 cm in length; housed in the original silk and velvet lined custom-made presentation box, inside stamped in silver by J. Macmichael of South Audley Street in London, lids with Stanley's initials stamped in silver; the box with some wear; provenance: from Stanley's study at Furze Hill, Pirbright, Surrey.
The inscription on the spade reads 'Presented to Mr. H.M. Stanley from the Earl and Countess of Aberdeen as a memento of His Planting a Tree at Haddo House June 16th 1890 and With Best Wishes for his happiness and that of his bride from July 12th 1890 and ever after'.
Provenance: After his marriage to Dorothy ('Dolly') Tennant Stanley decided that the couple must have a country home, and 'plunged into house hunting with something of his old vigor' (Bierman, Dark Safari, p. 350. After considering 57 properties Stanley decided to leave his Sackville Street flat for Furze Hill, a mock Tudor manor some 30 miles outside the capital. He had it modernised and extemsively renovated and electrified. The house was then filled with personal memorabilia, Africana, and portraits of fellow explorers of the 'dark' continent. The National Portrait Gallery, London, has a photographic portrait of Stanley, taken on June 16, 1890, at Haddo House.