Saturday, December 21, 2013

Gifts of Grandeur: Queen Victoria’s 1849 Christmas Brooch

Brooch, 1849
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

This simple and elegant brooch was purchased by Prince Albert and presented to Queen Victoria at Christmas 1849. In the Royal Collection there exists a receipt for payment for two brooches dated 14 January 1850, £14—this was one of the two.

The brooch was acquired during the royal visit to Dublin in August 1849. The design of the piece was based on an ancient prototype and demonstrates the revived interest in Celtic history that was developing at the time.

Prince Albert selected the brooch expressly to show royal patronage of the Irish jewelry trade and was created by West & Son, one of the largest jewelers at the time in Dublin. Set with garnets, the brooch mimics Celtic knot-work.

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