Thursday, October 17, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: Cameo Bracelet of the Duke of Cambridge, 1850-1870

Bracelet with Cameo of Adolphus Frederick,
The Duke of Cambridge
Cameo: 1850, Bracelet 1860-70
Cameo by George G. Adams
Gold, Shell, Diamonds, Bouton Pearls, Enamel, Silver
The Royal Collection
Originally, the cameo stood alone. Created in shell in 1850, by George Gammon Adams, the cameo is signed by the artist and based upon a drawing from life that Adams did of the Duke of Cambridge in 1847. The cameo still retains its original setting of bouton pearls, diamonds and pale green enamel which forms a laurel wreath around the Duke’s profile. The laurel wreath symbolizes the triumph of love and the diamonds symbolize eternity. 

The brooch was given to the Duchess of Cambridge who, sometime between 1860 and 1870, had it set into this gold bracelet. The reticulated gold band is quite heavy and wide, neatly framing the cameo.

As was often the case with these things, this precious item came into the Royal Collection via Queen Mary (…of Teck, wife of George V). In this particular instance, it was bequeathed to her by Augusta, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in 1916. What’s most curious about this is that, much earlier, Mary had been “given” the bracelet by the Duchess of Cambridge (probably after she admired it vociferously). She then gave the bracelet to the Grand Duchess Augusta who willed it back to her in 1916. So, technically, Queen Mary came by this bracelet twice.

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Images Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Click on above images for larger versions.

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