Mary’s belongings

Items belonging to Mary Smith, who lived at Christ’s Hospital in London and died in 1810 (C 114/190)

These exhibits were held by the Court of Chancery. At the time of Mary Smith’s death, the Court of Chancery was responsible for deciding who should have control over her estate as she was described as a ‘lunatic’; that’s all we know about her. Anyone with an interest in the estate could bring a case to court, including lawyers, Lunacy Commissioners, creditors or next-of-kin. As part of their evidence, these people could present exhibits such as private papers, diaries, accounts, etc. It was unusual for objects like Mary Smith’s belongings to be entered as exhibits.

The image shows the contents of Mary Smith’s box:

  • three miniature portraits in individual cases
  • a medal remembering the victory of Frederick II of Prussia over the French and Austrians at Rossbach in 1757
  • a silver pill box and a gold watch
  • hatpins and buckles
  • silver spoons and coins
  • a jewellery case with jewellery including a cross, some rings and a locket with the picture of a small girl
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