Gold vanity case, inscribed 1919


1 in stock

Ask a question

‘From the Good Ship “Winnipeg” to her Sponsor April 26 1919,’ reads the plaque on this beautifully made gold vanity case.

Inside a smaller inscription names her as ‘Mrs W.J. Bowser’.

It’s likely that this was Lorinda Doherty Bowser, a socialite married to a Canadian lawyer and politician, William John Bowser. In 1919 he was serving as the premier of British Columbia.

There’s a photograph in the City of Vancouver archives of SS Winnipeg, a French passenger and cargo ship built in Dunkirk in 1918.

It won fame for a 1939 voyage led by the poet Pablo Neruda that took 2,200 Spanish Civil War refugees from camps in France to his homeland, Chile. He called it “the noblest mission I have ever undertaken”.

Three years later, after the Winnipeg’s capture in the Caribbean from Vichy France and being put into service by the British government, it was sunk by a German submarine in the North Atlantic. Canada’s navy rescued all on board.

(But though the Canadian connections are tantalising, the records say this steamship was known until 1930 as the Jacques Cartier.)

Another photo, this one taken in London in 1911 and now in the V&A archives, shows our Mrs Bowser, lavishly attired on the occasion of her presentation to the court.

I wonder whose hands this handsome gift has passed through since hers?


• Handmade in 14-carat yellow gold
• Set with two blue cabochon cut synthetic sapphires
• Approximately 16.5cm (6 1/2 inches) long with strap, 5cm (2 inches) long without strap; 3.5cm (nearly 1 1/2 inches) wide
• Weight is 38 grams
• In excellent antique condition
• Will come in a Karen Deakin gift box (my antique boxes are not for sale)
• Note: some of the other jewellery is for sale separately (some has sold) – please get in touch if you’d like information about any of it

Please examine the photographs carefully – they form part of the description.

I’d be very happy to send more information and images. Layaway available.

I accept returns within 14 days if you’re not delighted with your purchase.

Shipping & Policies


I offer free worldwide express shipping, tracked and insured. Buyers are responsible for any customs and import taxes that may apply. I’m not responsible for delays due to customs.

Payment Options

Direct bank transfer (Australian customers only)

Credit card


Returns & Exchanges

I accept returns within 14 days if you’re not delighted with your purchase.

Please contact me immediately if you have any problems with your order.

Privacy policy

I will only use your shipping and billing address, and contact information

  • To communicate with you about your order
  • To fulfill your order
  • For legal reasons (like paying taxes)