Sunday, April 21, 2013

Gifts of Grandeur: The Brogden Cameo Necklace, 1867

Cameo necklace
John Brogden, 1867
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This necklace, in the archaeological style features layered agate cameos inspired by the fashionable classical hardstone gems. The piece was made by the jeweler John Brogden and purchased by the V&A from the International Exhibition in Paris of 1867.

Brogden won a number of awards at the International Exhibitions in London and Paris from 1851-1878. Brogden is known for his pieces rendered in ancient styles.  He is recorded as having studied the archeological finds at Nineveh and Pompeian where he used the wall paintings for as inspiration for his jewels. He also famously worked in the Rennaissance style.  A collection of drawings by Brogden showing the original designs for many of his gems also lives at the V&A along with many of the finished pieces.

This particular example, a lovely enameled gold necklace is hung with cameos of classical masks in layered agate, chalcedony and onyx, which Brogden created based on ancient specimens.  He altered the source material by presenting the masks in the late 18th century Neoclassical manner. An applied plaque with the maker's mark of John Brogden, reads 'JB' in Roman capitals.  This came from Brogden's Covent Garden, on Henrietta Street, workshop and dates to 1867.

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