Watch fob, Portland, ca. 1800


Admiral George Tate II, son of Captain George Tate of Portland, served in the Russian Navy for 50 years and was appointed admiral in 1793.

He orignally owned this fob, which descended to Ann Tate Ingraham, his niece in Portland. It depicts two hippocampi — the head of a horse combined with fluted fish tails, often winged.

This mythical marine animal was a fitting symbol for a Russian admiral.

The miniature music box enclosed in the fob reportedly plays "God Save the King." A rare luxury object, the fob might have complemented a pocket watch or used as a pendant.

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