|Design for a Ruby Brooch|
John Brogden, c. 1860
The Victoria & Albert Museum
I’ve always enjoyed the work of English Victorian jeweler John Brogden. In fact, I’ve often found the drawings he made while designing his jewels to be just as attractive as the finished products.
This design for a brooch is from an album of designs which Brogden created between 1848-1884. The album contains 1,593 designs for jewels and demonstrates the wide range of styles which Brogden produced.
Brogden’s firm was founded by John Brogden the Elder around 1796. For awhile, the firm was called “Brogden & Garland,” and, then, until 1841, it was styled “Garland & Watherston.” Around 1848, J.W. Garland departed the firm, leaving his partner, J.H. Watherston to move the concern to a new location. At this time, the son of Thomas Brogden (who may or may not have been the son, or maybe the nephew, of John Brogden the Elder) was working as an apprentice with the firm. The younger Brogden joined forces with Watherston, and, ultimately took over the firm, returning it to its original name.
The younger Brogden quickly became the toast of London Society and this design shows why. This drawing of pencil and watercolor on card depicts a design for a gold brooch in the Renaissance style. It features a large red ruby and a hanging pendant with gold tassels. The brooch was produced in the 1860s.