Tunic belonging to English soldier and friend of poets Byron and Shelley goes under the hammer at Sworders in Stansted
A 200-year-old military tunic worn by an English soldier and friend of romantic poets Byron and Shelley comes up for sale at Sworder's Fine Art Auctioneers this week.
The scarlet jacket, embellished with gold braid and silver tassels, belonged to Edward John Trelawny, an adventurer, biographer and novelist best known for his friendship with the poets Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, whom he met while travelling in Switzerland.
He became influenced by their views on the political situation in Greece. Trelawny travelled there with Lord Byron to join the fight for Greek independence.
Together with the tunic are items of embroidered Greek costume, plus Trelawny’s nickel bridle mounts and sword hilt.
Whilst Byron remained on the Ionian islands to mediate the political situation between London and Greece, in 1823 Trelawny set off as agent to Lord Byron to meet Greek leaders and eventually joined chieftain Odysseas Androutsos fighting in eastern Greece.
During this time Trelawney commanded a troop of 25 Albanian soldiers and engaged in several battles with the Turks and married Odysseas’s half-sister, Tarsitsa.
When Byron died in 1824, Trelawny is reputed to have arranged for the return of his body to England. He wrote a memoir of his time in Greece, ‘Adventures of a Younger Son’.
Originally left by Trelawny with his uncle Sir Christopher Hawkins (1761-1841) at Bignor Park in Trewithen, Cornwall, the tunic and other relics have been kept by his descendants.
For many years they were on public display in the Shelley Rooms, Bournemouth, and in 2008 were exhibited by the Oxford Press for the publication of William St Clair’s book on the role of the Philhellenes in the Greek War of Independence.
They come for sale as part of the Homes & Interiors (with militaria) sale at Sworders in Cambridge Road, Stansted, on Tuesday (March 28) with an estimate of £400-£600.