Comb thumbnail 1
Comb thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Comb

ca. 1808 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This comb is part of a Neo-classical parure, or set of jewellery, is made of ancient Roman engraved gems. It is said to have been given to the Empress Josephine of France by Napoleon’s sister Caroline Murat, who became Queen Consort of Naples in 1808. It is more likely that she simply gave the stones and that Josephine later had them mounted in France.

The 19th century was a period of huge industrial and social change, but in jewellery design the focus was often on the past. In the first decades classical styles were popular, evoking the glories of ancient Greece and Rome. This interest in antiquities was stimulated by fresh archaeological discoveries. Goldsmiths attempted to revive ancient techniques and made jewellery that imitated, or was in the style of, archaeological jewellery.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gold comb decorated with enamel, set with Roman carnelian intaglios
Brief Description
Carnelians set in enamelled gold, Paris, about 1808, intaglios mostly 100 BC–AD 200, probably carved in Italy
Physical Description
Gold comb decorated with enamel set with carnelian intaglios which are Roman dating between 100 BC and 200 AD
Dimensions
  • Height: 10.7cm
  • Width: 12.4cm
  • Depth: 2.7cm
Credit line
Private Collection
Summary
This comb is part of a Neo-classical parure, or set of jewellery, is made of ancient Roman engraved gems. It is said to have been given to the Empress Josephine of France by Napoleon’s sister Caroline Murat, who became Queen Consort of Naples in 1808. It is more likely that she simply gave the stones and that Josephine later had them mounted in France.



The 19th century was a period of huge industrial and social change, but in jewellery design the focus was often on the past. In the first decades classical styles were popular, evoking the glories of ancient Greece and Rome. This interest in antiquities was stimulated by fresh archaeological discoveries. Goldsmiths attempted to revive ancient techniques and made jewellery that imitated, or was in the style of, archaeological jewellery.
Collection
Accession Number
LOAN:MET ANON.99-1968

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record createdAugust 1, 2007
Record URL