|Description: Pink wood jewellery box. The top is heavily decorated with simulated pearls, rhinestones, silver(?) chains and ornaments. Top decoration is in a diamond shape outlined with pearls and rhinestones. In the centre, is a T-shaped decoration of several large pearls around a circular metal (silver?) ornament from which hangs five thin (silver?) chains with 3 pearls on each chain. Two brass hinges (painted over in pink) have lost two of their nails and therefore the top no longer attaches to the bottom section. (.1) The heavily decorated top of the box. Lined in pink paper with a white petal (diamond pattern) motif. The hinges remain attached to the top. Signature in red ink inside the top reads: “Mary Forbes original”, suggesting that the box was decorated by M. Forbes. Six pearls and one rhinestone are missing from the decoration. A 3 cm x 1 cm pink metal clasp is at the front edges of the lid. (.2) Bottom of box. Same paper lining. A 21.2 x .5 cm piece of wood (where the hinges attached to the bottom) has broken off and remains inthe box. Feet on bottom corners are 1 cm high. The bottom of the clasp (3 cm x 1 cm) is attached at the centre of the front edge.
History: Items donated by Barbara Sayers Larson. Barbara Larson is the daughter of Annie Harris (1882-1986) and Beverly Sayers (1883-1976) and granddaughter of Arthur (1843-1932) and Mary (1859-1954) Harris. Barbara was born January 27, 1920 and was the youngest of three children. Barbara and her siblings, Geoffrey Sayers (1907-1997) and Dora Sayers Caro (1915-) donated Benares to the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1968 after inheriting it from their aunt, Naomi Harris (1883-1968). Many of the items donated by Barbara originally belonged to her mother or Aunt Naomi and came from Benares. Barbara lived for many years in the log cabin originally given to her parents by her grandparents at 1723 Birchwood Drive. Barbara has recently moved to Kelowna, British Columbia to live with her daughter although she continues to maintain a close tie with the museum.
Box belonged originally to Dora Sayers Caro and contains invitations, dance cards, notes and mementos belonging to her - accessioned separately. It was made by Mary Forbes, the mother of her first husband, actor Ralph Forbes.
Ralph (pronounced RAYF) Forbes (1896-1951) was born in London, England in 1896. He was a renowned actor with over 70 movies to his credit, including “The Tower of London” (1939), “Frenchman’s Creek” (1944), and probably his most famous movie, “The Hounds of the Baskervilles” (1939). Ralph and Dora Sayers of Benares met in 1942 during the stage production of Noël Coward’s “Private Lives”. Dora and Ralph were married in 1946 at the home of his former wife, actress Kitty Carlisle, who remained a close friend to both. Ralph and Dora visited Benares often, and spent time at the family cottage on Georgian Bay. Ralph died in New York in 1951, only 5 years after Dora and Ralph had married. |