The locket behind tragic Titanic love story
9th April 2021
9th April 2021
The locket behind tragic Titanic love story: Engagement gift violinist gave to his sweetheart before he went down with ship while playing in orchestra is set to fetch £20,000 at auction.
A locket the tragic Titanic violinist gave to his sweetheart before he boarded the ill-fated liner has emerged for sale for £20,000.
Wallace Hartley led the eight piece orchestra on the deck of the stricken ship to help calm the passengers after it struck an iceberg and began to sink.
The band famously played on as the disaster, which claimed the lives of 1,522 passengers and crew, unfolded around them on April 14, 1912.
The musicians' heart-breaking demise was recreated and is one of the most poignant scenes in James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
When Wallace's body was recovered from the sea 10 days later his valise case holding his violin was still strapped to his body, aiding its buoyancy.
Prior to the fateful voyage, the 33-year-old presented his fiancée Maria Robinson with a yellow metal locket containing a photograph of himself as an engagement gift.
It is engraved with her initials.
The daughter of Ms Robinson's niece is now selling the locket at auctioneers Henry Aldridge & Son, of Devizes, Wiltshire.
Wallace had been reluctant to take the job on the White Star Line ship so soon after proposing but thought it would be a good way to get contacts for future work.
A heartbroken Maria kept hold of the locket until her death in 1939 in memory of her lost love, at which point it was given to her 'favourite' niece.
Eighty-two years later, the niece's daughter is selling the treasured item with auctioneers Henry Aldridge & Son, of Devizes, Wiltshire.
Andrew Aldridge, auctioneer at Henry Aldridge & Son, said: 'It is a phenomenal piece and what is remarkable is that this locket has stayed in the Robinson family until now.
'Maria gave Wallace a violin as an engagement gift and he presented her with his locket which has a wonderful picture of him inside.
'It was one of her most treasured possessions and she kept hold of it until her death when it was passed on to her favourite niece, the vendor's mother.
'The niece passed away aged 103 last year and the decision has been made to part with it now, with it hopefully ending up in a display setting.
'There were so many heroes of the Titanic but the band was synonymous with the 'be British mentality' of duty until the end.
Them playing as the ship went down is immortalised in the Titanic film.'
Wallace is said to have played 'Nearer, My God, to Thee' as the Titanic plunged below the surface on April 15, 1912.
His violin was sold by the same auction house in 2013 for a world record £900,000.
The sale of the locket takes place on April 17.