© Lennoxlove House Ltd
Formerly held in Hamilton Palace, South Lanarkshire,
now at Lennoxlove, East Lothian
This casket, which has been in the Hamilton
Collection since the 1670s, is said to have contained the notorious
letters that allegedly incriminated Mary,
Queen of Scots in the murder of her second husband, Lord Darnley.
About 25.4cm long, 15.2cm wide and 10.1cm
high, the casket is made of silver with a thin and now worn layer
of gold. The lid has an intricate pattern of vine leaves and small
flowers, and the sides are decorated with a pounced design of hunting
scenes. There are handles at each side, and a lock and key. At one
time, it probably had its own protective leather case. The casket
has the mark of an unidentified Parisian goldsmith of the 15th century.
The casket is one of the two most important
items of 15th-century French silver in Scotland, the other being
the mace of St Salvator’s College, St Andrews University. It is
supposed to have been given to Mary, Queen of Scots by her husband
Francis II of France.