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Bodice ornament

  • Place of origin:

    Spain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Diamonds set in gold scrolling openwork

  • Museum number:

    320-1870

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 11, shelf B, box 5

This wide gold ornament of spiralling acanthus leaves was held by two flat hooks at the top of the bodice. In front there are nearly 300 diamonds held in substantial gold settings, much heavier than the silver settings which became dominant in the eighteenth century. The five large diamonds are rose-cut. It is characteristic of Spanish gold jewellery at this date that the gold settings nearly enclose the smaller diamonds. Parisian work would have been much lighter in its use of gold.

The design is easier to read on the back where the plain gold stems extend in sinuous curls across the ornament. The leaves are delicately engraved and the drums which holds settings for the largest stones are engraved with rosettes of foliage. A parallel for the design can be found in a superb design by Pietro Cerini, made in Rome in about 1675 in the V&A Print Room.

The ornament was acquired from the Treasury of the Cathedral of the Virgin of the Pillar, Zaragoza. It was described, when sold, as having been presented to the shrine by Doña Ana Maria de Flores, Marquesa de la Puebla, who is said to have been mentioned by Madame d'Aulnoy (1650-1705) as one of the beauties of the Spanish Court. It was one of a group of jewels purchased by the Museum in 1870, when the Cathedral authorities sold off treasures presented to the shrine of the Virgin in order to complete their building programme.

Physical description

Bodice ornament of diamonds set in gold scrolling openwork surmounted by a shell with a bow pendant and five drops. The five large diamonds are rose-cut. The diamond at the centre of the base of the upper element of the ornamnent has three faces each of which has three facets. There are two hooks at the back for fastening to the bodice.

Place of Origin

Spain (made)

Date

ca. 1700 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Diamonds set in gold scrolling openwork

Dimensions

Height: 9 cm, Width: 13.5 cm, Depth: 1.9 cm

Object history note

From the Treasury of the Cathedral of the Virgin of the Pillar, Zaragoza. Presented by Doña Ana Maria de Flores, Marquesa de la Puebla, mentioned by Madame d'Aulnoy (1650-1705) as one of the beauties of the Spanish Court. One of a group of jewels purchased by the Museum in 1870, when the Cathedral authorities sold off treasures presented to the shrine of the Virgin in order to complete their building programme.

Historical context note

This wide gold ornament of spiralling acanthus leaves was held by two flat hooks at the top of the bodice. In front there are nearly 300 diamonds held in substantial gold settings, much heavier than the silver settings which became dominant in the eighteenth century.

The design is easier to read on the back where the plain gold stems extend in sinuous curls across the ornament. The leaves are delicately engraved and the drums which holds settings for the largest stone are engraved with rosettes of foliage. A similar use of acanthus leaves can be found in a superb design for a bodice ornament by Pietro Cerini, made in Rome in about 1675 (V&A Print Room).

Descriptive line

Bodice ornament of rose-cut diamonds set in gold scrolling openwork surmounted by a shell with a bow pendant and five drops, made in Spain, about 1700

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Oman, Charles. The Jewels of Our Lady of the Pillar at Saragossa. Apollo.June 1967, vol. 80, pp.400-6.
Bury, Shirley. Jewellery Gallery Summary Catalogue. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982. p. 86, Case 14 Board I no. 6
A Sparkling Age: 17th-century diamond jewellery. Antwerp, 1993. pp. 220-1, no. 106. Catalogue of the exhibition held at the Diamantmuseum, Antwerp, 11 June - 3 October 1993.

Materials

Gold; Diamond

Subjects depicted

Shell (motif); Bow (ribbon)

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Accessories; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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