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Admission Ticket for The Funeral of The Duke of Wellington, 1852
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Admission Ticket for The Funeral of The Duke of Wellington, 1852

Measurements: Overall: 20cm (8ins) x 26.5cm (10.5ins)

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Lithographically printed card with Greek key border, ducal coronet. Blind-embossed with the seal of the Earl Marshal of England lower centre. Manuscript inscribed ‘Centre Area under the Dome / South Side’ and named to Mrs Lefevre. Framed and glazed.

Emma Laura Lefevre (1798-1857) was the wife of Charles Shaw-Lefevre (1794-1888), the Speaker of the House of Commons, who was ennobled as Lord Eversley in 1857. Emma was the daughter of the Whig MP Samuel Whitbread (1764–1815), a most ardent admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte. Indeed, Whitbread slashed his own throat on hearing the news of Napoleon’s defeat at the hands of Wellington in 1815. At Wellington’s funeral in 1852 her husband represented the House of Commons and was responsible for delivering the Earl Marshal’s tickets to MPs under the Speaker’s seal.

The Lefevres had three sons all of whom died in infancy, and two daughters. The family lived at Heckfield Place in Hampshire. Emma Lefevre was only briefly known as Lady Eversley as she died in June 1857. Lord Eversley survived her by over thirty years. Also playing a prominent role of the state funeral of the late Field Marshal on 18 November 1852, was Emma’s twenty-one year old nephew, George Lefevre (1831-1928), who as Gentleman Usher, carried Iron Duke’s coronet behind the coffin. George went on to have successful political career and lived long enough to attend the funeral of another national hero in St.Paul’s, that of Lord Kitchener in 1916.

Of the funeral itself The Illustrated London News reported, ‘The grave has closed over the mortal remains of the greatest hero of our age, and one of the purest-minded men recorded in history. Wellington and Nelson sleep side by side under the dome of St. Paul's, and the national mausoleum of our isles has received the most illustrious of its dead. With pomp and circumstances, a fervour of popular respect, a solemnity and a grandeur never before seen in our time, and in all probability, not to be surpassed in the obsequies of any other hero heretofore to be born, to become the benefactor of this country, the sacred relics of Arthur Duke of Wellington have been deposited in the place long since set apart by the unanimous design of his countrymen. . . . all the sanctity and awe inspired by the grandest of religious services performed in the grandest Protestant temple in the world, were combined to render the scene, inside and outside of St. Paul's Cathedral on Thursday last, the most memorable in our annals. . . . .’

Reference: The Order of Proceeding and Ceremonies Observed in the Public Funeral of the Late Field Marshal Arthur Duke Wellington (1852)


 

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