Italy, c. 1850
This and all related images from the Victoria & Albert Museum
An English gentleman of the 1850s would have reserved a decorative set of buttons and studs such as these for evening wear. This set, containing ten buttons and two studs, would have adorned his waistcoat and shirt. The double-breasted style which was the fashion of the time would have required this number. The two studs were employed to secure the front of the short which would have been visible above the waistcoat.
This particular suite is part of the collection of micromosaic jewelry which was bequeathed to the V&A by Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde. The buttons each show Roman monuments surrounded by frames of black glass. They were made in the Vatican Mosaic Workshop in Rome.