Heart-Shaped Brooch

ca. 1400-1425 (made)
Heart-Shaped Brooch thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 10a, The Françoise and Georges Selz Gallery
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gold, engraved; enamel
Brief Description
Gold heart-shaped brooch with black letter inscription, England or France, ca. 1400-1425
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.
Dimensions
  • Height: 2.1cm
  • Width: 2.5cm
  • Depth: 0.3cm
Marks and Inscriptions
'sanz / de/ partier' (Inscribed in French, in black letter)
Credit line
Given by Dame Joan Evans
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Bibliographic References
  • 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
Collection
Accession Number
M.40-1975

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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