Monday, June 23, 2014

Mastery of Design: The Dame Joan Evans Putti Locket, 1570-1600

Memorial Locket with Cameo and Enamel Painting
Cameo:  1570, Setting: 1600
The Victoria & Albert Museum

From the collection of Dame Joan Evans, we have this layered agate cameo which depicts two male busts. The cameo is set in gold and adorned with painted enamels and rubies. It’s believed that the cameo was made in Germany circa 1570 and was set into the gold mount around 1600. 

The reverse of the cameo has been painted with an enamel landscape which shows a skull and a putto blowing bubbles—a clear representation of the brevity of human life. Given this, it’s entirely possible that this was meant to serve as a memorial locket or, perhaps, a memento mori.

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