To commemorate the bixentenary of the Derby in 1980, the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, is shown leading in his 1896 Derby winner, Persimmon. Vignettes of other Derby winners appear on the sides. Drawings by Moira Hoddell.


A British summer does not always promise endless sunshine, but it does pledge a season of fan-worthy fixtures. Though dashed from our diaries last year and replaced with a few perhaps not-so-adrenaline-fuelled quizzes, this year British sports are back with a bang.

The hats and heels were dusted off in time for Royal Ascot, the return of Wimbledon is now well under way, and the roaring successes of the Lions matches are resounding all around the UK. We too at Halcyon Days are taking a moment to revel in these great sensations and reflect on what it is that makes our British summer of sport just so compelling.

The Wimbledon centenary box with a scene depicting the first Men's Singles in 1877. Drawing by Ian Adam. 

This year in particular, it is the conviction with which football fans do not doubt that it’s coming home – and it is tantalisingly close this year as we make our way to Wembley on a very strong foot. Rugby supporters will be firmly backing the British and Irish Lion’s tour of South Africa, watching without one blink of an eye, perhaps even having invested in a new barbeque to carry them through the coming weekends. The Barmy Army too are back in full swing, loyally  cheerleading our gentlemanly games on the green…

But the sport on the pitch is not the only competition at play. From the side-lines, we have seen glamour galore; hats with height you couldn’t measure and each wrist and neckline garnished with treasure.


Which of our jewellery pieces will you be sporting?

 The camaraderie surrounding all competitions this year is especially notable, but it is not something that is new to our nation, or Halcyon Days. Many of our enamel boxes have celebrated prolific sporting events dating back to the 18th and 19th century; it has been a particularly popular subject for artists, engravers, and supporters alike. Take our Wimbledon centenary box, encapsulating the scene of the first Men’s Singles in 1877, or our picturesque design for the 150th Anniversary of the first University Boat Race, seen below. For the latter, the detail is striking as the blue hues are markedly identifiable, and to add competition to craft, both Cambridge blue and Oxford blue – based versions of the box were produced. Be it boating, golf, cycling, or racing, through the art of enamelling, Halcyon Days has, and continues to frame the glorious successes and sportsmanship of the British sporting season. 


The 150th anniversary in 1979 of the first University Boat Race. Drawings by David Rowlands.

To commemorate the bicentenary of the Marylebone Cricket Club, founded in 1787 by the legendary Thomas Lord. Drawings by Rodney Shackell.


The Grand National was first held at Aintree in 1839 and to celebrate its 150th anniversary this box was produced showing the first winner, Mr Elmore's Lottery. Drawings by Rodney Shakell.

As we all well know, British competition does not limit itself to the grand grounds of Wembley, Lord’s, and Centre Court. There’s the unequivocal degree of grit and determination that surfaces on the home-grown croquet lawn when one is walloped into the finishing post early by the uncle you thought most highly of, or “roqued” by an audacious aunt – did she really just use her foot to hold the ball?! “House rules” always apply, moguls just make the game interesting, and it is never not Pimm’s o’clock.

It’s worthy of mention that a Bespoke enamel box would make a unique trophy for that ‘informal’ annual tennis tournament too…

So whether you’ll be watching, playing, dressing up, or picnicking with friends on Henman Hill this year, join us in celebrating The Great British Summer of Sport.

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