Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mastery of Design: Queen Victoria’s 1842 Christmas Brooch

Princess Victoria Brooch
Presented to Queen Victoria on Christmas, 1842
Designed by Prince Albert
Crafted by William Essex after William Ross, miniaturist
Enamel, Gold, Diamonds, Rubies, Sapphires, Emeralds, &
The Royal Collection
To celebrate Christmas with his wife and their first child, Princess Victoria, Prince Albert designed a beautiful enamel and jeweled brooch for Queen Victoria. Inspired by a painting by Raphael, the prince envisioned an angel with sparkling wings and the face of their infant daughter.

Jeweler William Essex was commissioned to create the brooch to Prince Albert’s specifications. For Princess Victoria’s enameled, cherubic face, Essex used as his model a miniature painting of the child princess by William Ross. The resulting brooch of enamel, gold, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, diamonds and topazes shows the young Princess as a putti draped in a regal blue robe. In her tiny hands, she clutches a cross of diamonds and rubies.

Queen Victoria was—rightfully—thrilled with the brooch and wrote in her journal, “The workmanship and design are quite exquisite, and dear Albert was so pleased at my delight over it, it’s having been entirely his own idea and taste.”

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