the horn has a cover inscribed: “THE DRINKING HORN OF KING THEODORE’S WAS TAKEN FROM MAGDALA by Lieut C M Davidson ADJUTANT 4TH KINGS OWN ROYAL REGIMENT 13th April 1868”. There is a shied on the front inscribed: “TO Lieut Colonel Edmond A Shuldham OF COOLKELURE FROM HIS FRIEND Capt C M Davidson”.
There is a footnote saying Christopher Middlemass Davidson and Edmond Anderson Shuldham are linked through the South Cork Militia. It adds:
“Christopher Middlemass Davidson was born June 5th 1843 and became Ensign by purchase in the 4th Foot in Feb 1862. As Lieut. and Adjutant of the 1st Battalion, 4th Foot, he participated in the Abyssinian Campaign. He saw action at Arogee and was in the forefront in the Capture of Magdala. In 1869 he became Regimental Instructor of Musketry and with promotion to Captain in 1875 transferred to the 104th Foot. He served as Adjutant of the South Cork Militia from 1878 to 1881. In 1881 he was promoted to Major and retired from the Royal Munster Fusiliers as Lieut. Colonel in 1882. In 1889 Lt. Col. Davidson became a Gentleman at Arms. He served in the sovereign’s bodyguard under Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and King George V. He was awarded the 4th Class MVO in 1921 and died April 6th 1922.”
Details Lot 72 Maker’s mark: WH, London 1879 Height 26.7cm Sold for £ 2,125 inc. premium HOME & INTERIORS The Gentleman’s Library Sale 19 Jan 2017, 10:00 GMT
What: Horn cup, said to belong to Emperor Tewodros, taken by Captain Thomson during the storming of Magdala, sold via Christies in April 2014
Where: Last in the hands of an unnamed buyer
The auction page has a picture of the cup and describes it as “a white metal mounted buffalo horn cup”. It is unclear who added the metal mounting.
The rim is engraved: “THE EMPEROR THEODORES DRINKING HORN. TAKEN AT THE STORMING OF MAGDALA. BY CAPT THOMPSON. 33RD REGT. 18TH APRIL 1868”.
Details: Lot 284 Sale 5953 Robert Kime, David Bedale, Piers von Westenholz and Christopher Gibbs – The English Home, 30 April 2014, London, South Kensington Sold for £812 Estimate £600 – £900 13 in. (33 cm.) high; 6 in. (15.2 cm.) diameter
What: A pistol, given to Tewodros by Queen Victoria
Where: The Royal Collection, Britain
The catalogue entry, which has a picture, reads: “Percussion Revolver; octagonal blued steel barrel and body engraved with foliate scrolling; walnut grip carved with chequering; blued steel pommel cap engraved with foliate scrolls; oval escutcheon inlaid in silver and engraved with presentation inscription.”
What: A 12cm-long piece of cloth cut from the Emperor’s coat on the day he died
Where: The Cameronians Regimental Museum (Scottish Rifles), Mote Hill, off Muir Street, Hamilton, Lanarkshire, ML3 6BY, UK
According to many accounts, British soldiers swarmed around the body of Emperor Tewodros on Magdala and cut off pieces of his clothes for souvenirs.
The museum entry, which has two pictures, describes: a “small scrap of material with handwritten note” on a piece of paper.
A note on the paper reads: “A piece of the coat King Theodore had on the day he was killed. A piece of the coat was given to one of the 26th Cameronians by a French Colonel who took it off his coat – He [?] cut this off their piece”.
Accession No: CAM.G308
The 26th Foot (The Cameronians) were a Scottish regiment which arrived too late to take part in either of the main battles in the Abyssinian Campaign.
What: Drinking horn with leather cover and metal mouthpiece, said to belong to Emperor Tewodros
Where: The Ethnological Museum of Berlin, Takustraße 40, 14195 Berlin, Germany
The catalogue entry includes a picture of the horn and a description of how it was found:
“The present drinking horn was found by me (Stumm, A. d.) During the storming and the taking of Magdala by the English on April 13, 1868, in the tent of Emperor Theodore of Abyssinia … As one of the first to climb over and enclose the fence of the fortress in which Theodore and 19 companions had encircled, I found the emperor’s corpse, apparently barely a few moments after Theodoros had taken his life by a pistol shot far from the entrance of the tent, which was immediately recognizable by its size and splendor as that of the emperor. A divan and a heap of piled blankets occupied the interior, and on the latter the drinking horn, half-filled with araki, was evidently the last part of the emperor known by his drunkenness.
“The closure of the drinking horn consisted of a wooden stopper with a brass button, which was lost during the transport to the coast, and was later restored in Germany, according to the original form in … (illegible) silver.” Florenz den 1. December 1868. Gez. Stumm, Second Lieutenant à la suite of the Hanoverian Hussar Regiment No. 15 (Letter to Wilhelm I of Prussia).
The catalogue entry says Stumm gave the drinking horn to the Prussian king who later passed it onto the museum.
The mouthpiece is marked with the inscription: “Trinkhorn des Kaisers Theodoros von Abissinien – Magdala 13. April 1868”.
Details Length: 62 cm Diameter: 14 cm (bottom) ID No. III A 252