On 4 August 1814, while in Paris with Mary and Claire Clairmont, Shelley wrote in his journal: ‘Mary told me that this was my birth day. I thought it had been the 27th of June. Tavernier breakfasted. He is an idiot. I sold my watch, chain, &c which brought 2 napoleons 5 franks.’ The gold watch shown here, hallmarked 1814 on the case, was presumably purchased by Shelley on his return to England.
Attached to the gold chain are five seals: a blood-stone with the Shelley arms of three shells; an oval onyx with a ‘Judgement of Paris’ (often used by Shelley and Mary for their correspondence); a rectangular amethyst with ‘Mary Shelley’ in reversed gothic letters; a blood stone engraved with what looks like a winged nautilus shell; and an oval cornelian with the head of a balding philosopher (?), signed ‘LATHAM’, perhaps connected with William Godwin.
Percy Bysshe Shelley; (1822) Mary Shelley; (bequest, 1851) Sir Percy and Lady Shelley; (bequest, 1889) Lady Shelley; (gift, 1894) Bodleian.
Shelley’s Guitar, no. 112; Journals of Mary Shelley, i, p. 9.