Prince Albert, Duke of Saxony, Dental Instrument Set
An antique cased dental instrument set made for the care of His Royal Highness Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Saxony (1819-1861), the husband of Queen Victoria. The set was crafted in England and dates to the 1840s. The 6 steel scalers have mother-of-pearl handles with gold ajouré and chased mounts. The mouth mirror is on a swing frame and has an agate handle. The Saxon crown, a major element in Prince Albert's coat-of-arms and regalia, is featured as a gold finial on each scaler. Though unmarked, the skillful workmanship of the Victorian Age goldsmiths Charles Rawlings and William Summers, London, fl. 1829-ca. 1860, is discernible. 6.25"w x 6.75"l x 1"d.
Prince Albert's senior dentists, from his marriage to Queen Victoria in 1840 to his death in 1861, were Alexander Nasmyth (1840-1846), Edwin Saunders (1846-1861), and James Robinson (1849-1861). Nasmyth became Surgeon-Dentist to Prince Albert in 1840. He and Saunders were later successive appointees to the post of Surgeon-Dentist-in-Ordinary to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Robinson was gazetted Surgeon-Dentist to His Royal Highness Prince Albert in 1849. Robinson, who on 19 December 1846 was the first to use anesthesia in a medical procedure in Britain, shared a common interest with the future Prince Consort in the then new field of anesthetics. Two similar dental sets, believed to have been used by Saunders, are linked to Queen Victoria and to the young Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII. Queen Victoria's set, bearing Rawlings and Summers hallmarks and dated 1846, is on display at the National Museum of Dentistry, Baltimore, while the British Dental Association Museum, London, holds the set of the Prince of Wales. These three royal scaling sets are at the apogee of 19th century opulent dental instruments.
Provenance: Purchased from Alex Peck Medical Antiques, 2018.
Wear to exterior covering of case. Interior and implements in overall good condition.
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