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Brooch

Brooch

  • Place of origin:

    Rome (made)

  • Date:

    1820-1830 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Micromosaic and pierced and chased gold

  • Credit Line:

    The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.148-2008

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Micromosaics have their roots in the larger mosaics of ancient Rome used to decorate their walls and floors. The first micromosaics were created in the 18th century, but it was not until Arthur Gilbert himself became interested in collecting them and invented the term 'micromosaics' that they became known as such. The tesserae are minute pieces cut from thin pieces of glass known as smalti filati, and some of the finest micomosaics can consist of as many as 5,000 tesserae per square inch (ca. 3 by 3cm). By the late 18th century Rome had become central to the production of micromosaics and sold them as souvenirs to wealthy foreigners visiting the city. From small elegant snuffboxes to large monumental tabletops, micromosaics could be used to decorate objects of all shapes and sizes. They could even be made to resemble full-sized canvas paintings, and indeed Arthur Gilbert himself mistook his very first micromosaic for a painting. When he brought it home to show his wife, he had to convince her that it was not in fact a cracked painting, as she supposed, but a mosaic.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.

Physical description

Rectangular brooch with a micromosaic depicting a peasant couple, the man sitting on a rock and turning to look at the woman who stands behind him with her hand on his left shoulder. The gold frame consists of pierced and chased scrolls.

Place of Origin

Rome (made)

Date

1820-1830 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Micromosaic and pierced and chased gold

Dimensions

Length: 5.1 cm, Width: 7.3 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Arthur Tell, New York, 1966.

Descriptive line

Small mosaic brooch with scene of farmer and wife, Rome, 1825.

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

Avery, Charles, assisted by Arthur Emperatori. Mosaics from the Gilbert Collection: summary catalogue. Exhibition catalogue Victoria & Albert Museum. London: H.M.S.O. 1975, cat. no. 50.
Gabriel, Jeanette Hanisee with contributions by Anna Maria Massinelli and essays by Judy Rudoe and Massimo Alfieri. Micromosaics: The Gilbert Collection. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd. in association with The Gilbert Collection, 2000. 310 p., ill. Cat. no. 172, p. 237. ISBN 0856675113.

Materials

Mosaic glass; Brass

Techniques

Micromosaic; Piercing; Chasing; Framing; Gilding

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Mosaic

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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