Sunday, March 24, 2013

Gifts of Grandeur: A Pendant with Tassie Cameos of George III and Charlotte, 1780

This delicate pendant gold, enamel, glass cameo and pearls bears the likenesses of King George III and Queen Charlotte. The cameos are referred to as “Tassie Cameos” because they are made in the style of William Tassie who perfected a means of crafting sparkling silhouettes in glass of famous people.

Pendant with Tassie Cameos
of King George III and
Queen Charlotte
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth II
The pendant, created in 1780, was given by King George III and Queen Charlotte to the Honorable Georgiana Townsend, daughter of the 1st Viscount Sydney—the Leader of the House of Commons who was largely responsible for reaching terms of peace with the United States in 1783 following the American Revolution. It was interesting the Sydney was so instrumental in smoothing things over with the Colonies considering that the whole kerfuffle started with the Stamp Act of 1765—an act passed by Sydney’s cousin, Charles Townsend.

Georgiana had spent most of her life in the favor of the Royal Court and was a favorite of Queen Charlotte. Later in her life, Georgiana was appointed to the sinecure of State Housekeeper at Windsor, a position she held until the end of her life. She lived in the Norman Tower at Windsor Castle until her death.

In 1915, most of the items in the Sydney collection were auctioned off. Mary of Teck purchased this pendant at that auction as part of her quest to return as many Royal objects as possible to the Royal Collection.

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