Jelly, jelly so fine

Thursday, January 5, 2023

More on the Lady Mallet tea set

I have received some interesting new information regarding the Lady Mallet Tea Set. After I contacted them, the Mallet family spread the original blogpost around and several people have contacted me with information. There is lot for me to digest. I probably need to read a book or two and get fully caught up. 

Silver Magazine, a publication I wrote for decades ago in a previous incarnation (them, not me), would like an article on the subject but I need to tighten everything up and I am nowhere close to being ready or having time for that matter with my current work schedule. I hope I can do a good job on it eventually.

By the way, no one has expressed the slightest interest in acquiring the set, nor has any Museum in Panama. I think the family might be more interested in how it left their grasp. I don't mind keeping it, it seems to be quite historically important and it didn't cost all that much. Has a great story. This one has traveled beyond the mere mercantile.

Matthew Parker, whom I have an inkling might be a relative of the good lady, says that the silver set is mentioned in his book Panama Fever.

I received this letter the other day from James Harris, whose wife Primrose Mallet-Harris is Lady Mallet's granddaughter:

Hello Robert,

I attach a note prepared by wife about her grandmother Lady Mallet.  Here she has corrected some of the misinformation contained in the articles you have found and read.

I am waiting to hear from Dr. Guevera Mann on the part that the family played in the history of Panama.

It would be very interesting to learn how your dealer and dear friend acquired the tea set.

Kind regards and best wishes for the New Year.


I don't have much information about the seller or should I say the woman who sold the set to my friend that I bought it from. Apparently she was a wealthy silver aficionado from Orinda who had moved to Pebble Beach. All the silver in the home had copious notes except for this set, which had no notes or documentation whatsoever.

This morning I received this letter:

Hello Mallet/Mallets all over the world.

Being one of the few non-Mallet copied on this email, I hope my quest and time is rewarding to all.

Following this topic, and thanks to a Curator from the University, of Florida I was able to locate the 1919 newspaper article from the ceremony where Lady Mallet was awarded the silver set. The article from The Workman describes the presentation of the silver set: https://www.dloc.com/AA00027053/00136/images/0

Also, please see other mentions of Lady Mallet as sent from John Nemmers in their archive:

There are some other items available in the Digital Library of the Caribbean that also reference Lady Mallet, so I’m including this link which provides thumbnails of and excerpts of the text for each item:

I hope this adds to the family’s quest and to rediscover truly who Lady Mallet was.


Alvaro Pérez Cardenas

Hot damn! A front page article in the Panama periodical The Workman on the gift of the set to Lady Mallet from May 17th, 1919. It is rather difficult to zoom in and read and I have not as yet fully digested it but I will. Hit zoomable on the link and in the right hand corner you can select the part of the page to zoom in on. Here is a screenshot. 

This is incredible and shows what a magnificent gift this was, what a show of appreciation from a poor and beleaguered people to this woman that helped them so. What a remarkable woman she was. It even lists all the donors.

Thank you so much Alvaro and thanks to the rest of the family for helping me fill in the dots. I will continue to research and see where it takes me. I wait to hear from Dr. Mann, who has played a part in celebrating the history of the Panamanian Red Cross.

I had a feeling about this set!


Ken Seals said...

Really fascinating story. Hope it doesn't wind up being stolen somewhere along the line.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the next area of your research and outreach might be the West Indian community? Their contribution to war efforts is really highlighted in this post.