Monday, January 27, 2014

Gifts of Grandeur: The “A Trophy of Love” Brooch, 1800

A Trophy of Love
Brooch, 1800
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Tomorrow, we shall celebrate "A Ham for Miss Landers Day," a day wherein, a fleshy trophy was bestowed upon a lovely lady.

Here's another sort of trophy.

A brilliant explosion of color, this brooch is entitled, “A Trophy of Love.” It is enameled gold set with carnelians, pearls & emeralds.

The theme of this brooch is, obviously, the symbols of love. Here, we see some of the most traditional representations of love. Cupid’s bow and arrows (two are loose and three remain in the quiver) are depicted next to a pair of doves, two hearts on fire and a hymeneal torch (named after Hymen, the Greek goddess of marriage). These symbols create a diagonal composition in the style of the jewels found in archeological digs. Such compositions were used to great effect in Neoclassical jewelry.

The brooch, made in France, is characteristic of French jewelry of the early Nineteenth Century. In that it is made of thin gold and contains few precious stones. This was common practice after the Revolution of 1789 when a shortage of precious materials made the jeweler’s art quite difficult.

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