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  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1872 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bissinger, Georges, born 1836 - died 1912 (gem engraver)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold and carved layered agate

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Christine Wishart

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 20, shelf B, box 7

This skilfully carved layered agate brooch by the Franco-German artist Jean Georges Bissinger shows Bissinger’s father-in-law, Carl Rudolf Brunnarius, a publisher and merchant who furnished princely interiors. The brooch is a memorial piece made after his death in 1872, probably for his daughter, Berthe, wife of the engraver, or for her mother. He is conventionally dressed, and is himself depicted wearing a brooch set with a cameo of a man pinned beneath his shirt collar, perhaps one made for him by his son-in-law.

C. R. Brunnarius built a ‘Maison spéciale pour l’ameublement de palais’ on the Boulevard St Denis which in its field was ‘one of the most important enterprises in Paris’. He supplied furnishings for the Kronprinzenpalais in Stuttgart.

Bissinger exhibited at the Paris exhibitions of 1867 and 1878 and was still working in 1904 when the journal Public Opinion admired his work: ‘M. Georges Bissinger's cameos are small as a rule; they are engraved particularly in the antique style, and as such are remarkably successful.’ At the Paris exhibition of 1878 he showed a series of 112 gems copied from examples in the Cabinet des Médailles. The jeweller Alexis Falize noted his use of a lathe to simulate lace in his report on the Philadelphia Exhibition in 1876.

Physical description

Gold brooch mounted with layered agate cameo of the head and shoulders of a man facing to his right

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


ca. 1872 (made)


Bissinger, Georges, born 1836 - died 1912 (gem engraver)

Materials and Techniques

Gold and carved layered agate

Marks and inscriptions

'C R Brunnarius / décedé 1872'
inscribed on the reverse of the cameo


Height: 41 mm, Width: 32 cm, Depth: 14 mm

Object history note

This brooch is a gift from the great-granddaughter of Jean Georges Bissinger (born Hanau, 1836; recorded in the family records as dying in Croissy-sur-Seine, 1912), who married Berthe Louise Brunnarius (1848-1892), daughter of Carl (or Karl) Rudolph Brunnarius (1816-72), who is depicted in the cameo.
The Bissingers' daughter, Berthe (1876-1973), was the first wife of Charles Oscar Caesar. Their daughter, Marthe Alice Caesar (1901-1968), married Jean Daniel Hoechstetter (1900-1987). Their daughter, Christine Wishart, is the donor.

Descriptive line

Gold brooch mounted with layered agate cameo head and shoulders of C. R. Brunnarius by Jean Georges Bissinger, France, ca. 1872

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

Rolf Bidlingmaier. Das Kronprinzenpalais in Stuttgart. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg, 2017. Page 48 (for C. R. Brunnarius)
Rachel Church, Brooches and badges (V&A/ Thames and Hudson, 2019), p. 48, fig. 47


Gold; Layered agate




Jewellery; Metalwork; Cameo


Metalwork Collection

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