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Hull Grundy & Higgins


There are two cases in the Victorian House which focus on lesser known items in the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery collection. The first is a case devoted to Anne Hull Grundy and the jewellery collection she gave to the gallery in the 1970s. The other case has items that Cecil Higgins personally collected, focusing on snuff boxes. 


Jewellery from the Hull Grundy Collection Case

The Higgins House, Free Entry


Three quarters of the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery collection of jewellery was donated by Anne Hull Grundy (1926–1986), who gave over 120 pieces in the 1970s. Anne had begun to collect 18th and 19th century jewellery from a young age, guided by the principal that ‘if you don't fall in love, don't buy it'.


Hull Grundy Collection - BroochBrooch c.1840, onyx set in gold


Her collection did not just include unique pieces of jewellery but also fashionable mass produced pieces. She became bed bound in her early twenties due to a respiratory condition but continued to order pieces from dealers through the post. Towards the end of her life she divided up her collection sending pieces in biscuit tins and plastic boxes to over seventy museums.


Snuff Boxes from the Cecil Higgins Collection Case

The Higgins House, Free Entry


The original Cecil Higgins collection which was bequeathed on his death included a small collection of snuff boxes and tobacco related objects. Although taking snuff had gone out of fashion in the 1930s and 40s when Higgins was collecting, snuff boxes would still have been highly collectable as they are today.


Taking snuff, powdered tobacco, was a popular habit in the 18th and 19th century for both men and women. As snuff became more fashionable small boxes with tight fitting lids that prevented the snuff from drying out became an important fashion accessory and a valuable gift. As snuff was an expensive habit, and only the wealthy could afford to buy it, snuff boxes were made of precious materials such as ivory, gold and beautifully engraved, carved or enamelled.


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