Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pets of the Belle Époque: A Gold and Carved Crystal Brooch of a Yorkshire Terrier, 1875

Gold, set with crystal which is carved and painted
from the underside.
English, 1875
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Always on the forefront of the arts, the British devised a variety of new techniques in the creation of jewelry. For instance, British artists pioneered the art of the reverse intaglio wherein a hardstone or crystal was carved from the underside, and often painted to create a startling three dimensional effect.

This crystal brooch, set in gold, dating to 1875, is an excellent example of early British reverse intaglio. Here, we see the figure of a Yorkshire terrier which has been carved from the reverse and painstakingly painted. With its pointed ears and bright blue bow, this adorable doggie appears to be looking at us from behind a window. It’s a beautifully rendered likeness and an exceptional piece of jewelry.

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