Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Sparkle: The Cooper Christmas Pendant, 1906

The Victoria & Albert Museum

The Cooper Christmas Pendant consists of a Madonna and Child within a jeweled niche, suspended within a circular wire frame which has been adorned with stars. The pendant is hung with an additional circular pendant and drop below, while above, a dove descends between the two chains that connect the suspension loop. The piece flickers with the colors and lights of hand-worked silver and gold with rubies, aquamarines, sapphires, opals and chrysoprases.

This is the work of John Paul Cooper whose artistry as a jeweler was celebrated at the 1906 Arts and Crafts Exhibition. Studio Magazine praised Cooper’s work for its sculptural qualities and for its originality during a period when other exhibitors' work appeared rather formulaic and staid.

The shimmer, rich colors, rounded cabochon-cut stones, plain bezels and the hand-worked silver seen here are typical of Arts and Crafts jewelry. Cooper favored figural subjects and he often worked with spiritual and symbolic themes.

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