Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Gifts of Grandeur: The Ydot Pendant, 1870

Bourg-en-Bresse Enamel in a Setting by Ydot, 1870
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Bourg-en-Bresse, in the south east of France, was known for its enamel wares.  It’s interesting to note, however, that the regions enamellers did not work directly on the finished object, but, instead made individual plaques of enamel in a wide palette of different colors which would be applied later to objects around Europe by various jewelers and goldsmiths.

The enamellers worked by building up the surface with separate drops of color and tiny shapes made from gold leaf.   Often, a tiny gemstone was added to the center of the plaques, creating a rich multi-textured effect.

This brooch-pendant has the mark of Paul Ydot of Paris, who worked from 1870 to 1891. It was bought for £1 18s at the International Exhibition, London, 1872.  The enamel piece was made in Bourg-en-Bresse and shows how these pieces were shipped around France and England to the best jewelers who would employ them as if they were precious stones.

The oval silver-gilt pendant is decorated on the front with a large oval enamel medallion in the center.  This is surrounded by smaller oval and round enamels. Three pear-shaped enameled drops hang from the lower edge, and a matching oval enamel medallion is set on the bale. Each of the enamel medallions are further decorated with faceted pastes in the centre. 

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