Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Unusual Artifacts: A Brooch with an Intaglio of King George IV

Intaglio Brooch with Bust of King George IV
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Made by Rundell Bridge & Rundell circa 1820-1830, I noticed this brooch among a new lot of images in the archives of the Royal Collection.  The magnificent centerpiece, an intaglio in Siberian amethyst is set in a frame of silver gilt with gold collet mounts, framed by open scroll-shaped mounts in silver set with smaller brilliants, interspersed with eight larger cushion-cut diamonds.

My girl, Mary of Teck (properly Queen Mary, consort of King George V, King of the United Kingdom (1867-1953)), "acquired" the brooch at some point.  It is suggested by the curators of the Royal Collection that this brooch:

May be identifiable with the 'large Amethyst set with diamonds with George the Fourth's head engraved upon it' bequeathed by Princess Mary Duchess of Gloucester to Augusta Duchess of Cambridge in 1857. 

That would, therefore, suggest that the piece came into the Royal Collection upon the death of the Duchess of Cambridge who bequeathed many of her most magnificent jewels to her granddaughter, Princess May of Teck (the future Queen Mary).

The intaglio bust of George IV (1762-1830) depicts the one-time Prince Regent in profile to the right donned in classical drapery.  The carving is signed in reverse below the drapery: R . B & R . F t ., (for the Royal goldsmiths, Rundell, Bridge and Rundell from 1797 to 1840).

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection

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