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Heart-shaped brooch

  • Place of origin:

    England (possibly, made)
    France (possibly)

  • Date:

    ca. 1400-1425 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gold, engraved; enamel

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dame Joan Evans

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 10a, The Françoise and Georges Selz Gallery, case 4

An ever popular symbol of love was a heart, either as used as here, the shape of the jewel itself , or as a decorative motif. The inscription on this brooch, meaning 'without being parted' invokes both the themes of fidelity and of love. A brooch was used to fasten a garment,but also symbolically protected the wearer from amatory advances. In this sense brooches might be worn as symbols of fidelity or chastity. Brooches could also be symbols of love and desire. A lady giving her brooch as a love token was a symbol of her accepting the amorous petitions of an admirer.

Physical description

Brooch, heart-shaped, gold, traces of enamel. On the reverse the surface is concave, with traces of white enamel; on the front is engraved in black letter '* sanz de partir' ('Without being parted'), the words interspersed with floral sprigs and terminating in a rosette.

Place of Origin

England (possibly, made)
France (possibly)


ca. 1400-1425 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Gold, engraved; enamel

Marks and inscriptions

'sanz / de/ partier'
'Without leaving', 'Never to part'
Inscribed in French, in black letter


Height: 2.1 cm, Width: 2.5 cm, Depth: 0.3 cm

Descriptive line

Gold heart-shaped brooch with black letter inscription, England or France, ca. 1400-1425

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

Campbell, Marian Medieval Jewellery in Europe 1100-1500 , London, V&A Publishing, 2009, p.94, fig.106
Lightbown, Ronald, Mediaeval European Jewellery, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1992, cat.24, p.498


Gold; Enamel


Engraving; Enamelling

Subjects depicted

Floral sprays; Hearts; Flowers; Rosettes


Jewellery; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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