Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Gifts of Grandeur: The Blue Foil Necklace, 1650-75

Necklace of Painted Blue Foil, Silver, Glass and Waxed Thread
England, 1650-1675

While not very valuable in terms of materials, this necklace which dates to about 1650-1675 is priceless for the skill and brilliance with which it was made.

Each of the individual square panels of this necklace is set with a blue foil which has been painted in exquisite miniature with a symbol representing love or mortality; including a skull and crossbones, the initials “EJ” beneath a coronet’ a putto holding leaves, a cornucopia, two cherubs with a flaming heart, a skeleton on a tomb inscribed “At Rest,” a dolphin, an angel with two crosses, a crowned lion, a winged skull, a bull, the sun, moon and stars, a lyre and butterfly, flowers, clasped hands with a heart, a skull above a crown with inscriptions “GLORIA” and “VANITAS,” a putto with a lance, an elephant's head and trident, and a sea animal in a shell.

Small panels of glass are set above each painted foil.
  Mounted on silver backings, these individual panels are strung together with waxed thread.  

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