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Brooch

Brooch

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1864 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Burges, William, born 1827 - died 1881 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver, silver-gilt, set with turquoise and garnet

  • Credit Line:

    Given by William and Judith Bollinger

  • Museum number:

    M.8-2012

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 22, shelf A, box 10

This brooch, which can also be worn as a pendant, was designed by one of the pre-eminent Victorian architects William Burges (1827-1881) for another distinguished architect John Pollard Seddon (1827-1906) and his wife Margaret Barber (1836-1910), who were married in 1864. Another example of the brooch, also bearing their initials, is known, and it would appear that the brooches were made as gifts for bridesmaids. In the album of jewellery designs by Burges in the Victoria and Albert Museum there is a design for the brooch with two sections, as well as a design for the back and a design for a quarter of the frame to show how it would be made under the flowers (V&A inventory no. 8830:11). The stones are identifed as carbuncle (garnet) and 'turq[oise]' (the design has been cropped). The design is inscribed 'Seddon'. Among other designs of the same type in the album is one for another client inscribed 'bridesmaids', specifying that six should be made in silver. No number of examples is specified for the Seddon brooch.

The frame of the brooch is medieval in inspiration. The 'lopped-bough' motif, which was known as bresseronné or brossonné work in France, is documented in the fourteenth century, and was popular in the fifteenth century. Although the flowers are not forget-me-nots, the turquoise colour would have spoken of love in the Victorian language of flowers.

The re-discovery of this brooch and of the other Seddon brooch was due to the jewellery historian Geoffrey Munn. Asked by the BBC Antiques Roadshow what missing object he would like to see found, he showed pictures of the Burges designs in the V&A which he and Charlotte Gere had published in their book, Artists' Jewellery, in 1989. A keen-eyed viewer recognised one of the designs as being that of a brooch her mother had inherited. It was sold by Gildings of Market Harborough on 2 August 2011. When the story was repeated by the BBC in a review of the year, a second example was brought to light by a viewer and it is this example which has been acquired by the V&A.

Physical description

Brooch, circular and in the form of a garland of engraved silver branches with four turquoise-centred silver-gilt flowers. The bottom flower is more crudely made, and may be a later replacement. Held by chains at the centre of the garland is a cabochon garnet heart. The silver back has the engraved initials M, J, P and S for Margaret and John Pollard Seddon. It has both a brooch pin and a suspension loop.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca. 1864 (made)

Artist/maker

Burges, William, born 1827 - died 1881 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Silver, silver-gilt, set with turquoise and garnet

Marks and inscriptions

M J P S
Engraved on the back of the brooch. The initials of Margaret and John Pollard Seddon.

Dimensions

Height: 43 mm, Width: 42 mm, Depth: 12 mm

Object history note

The initials on the back of this brooch are those of the archictect John Pollard Seddon and his wife Margaret, who were married in 1864. The design for it by William Burges in the V&A bears the name of Seddon as client. Since another example of the brooch exists, it appears that two or more examples of the brooch were commissioned as presents for bridesmaids at the wedding. The brooch was re-discovered at the end of 2011 (see public access description).

Descriptive line

Brooch, silver and silver-gilt set with turquoise and garnet, designed by William Burges, England, ca. 1864

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

Gere, Charlotte and Geoffrey Munn. Artists' Jewellery: Pre-Raphaelite to Arts and Crafts. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club, 1989.

Labels and date

Room 91, Case 22, Board A, no. 10
Brooch
England, about 1864; designed by William Burges (1827-81)
Silver, gilded silver, turquoise and garnet
The brooch was probably a gift to a bridesmaid at the wedding of the architect J.P. Seddon and his wife Margaret whose initials are engraved on the back
Museum no. M.8-2012 [15/11/2012]

Materials

Silver; Silver-gilt; Turquoise; Garnet

Techniques

Polished

Categories

Metalwork; Jewellery

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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