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Bracelet

  • Place of origin:

    Rome (made)

  • Date:

    1820-50 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chased gold, carved malachite and micromosaic with a band of woven hair

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.138-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 72, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 6, shelf DU1

This micromosaic depicts Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome, who were rescued as infants from the River Tiber by a she-wolf. The wolf raised them until they were found by the shepherd Faustulus. It has been set into the clasp of a wide bracelet made of woven hair. Wide bracelets, often several worn together on one wrist, became fashionable in the 1820s.

The term 'micromosaic' is used to describe mosaics made of the smallest glass pieces. Some micromosaics contain more than 5000 pieces per square inch. The earliest attempts at micromosaic revealed visible joins between the pieces (known as tesserae) and a lack of perspective. Later artists such as Antonio Aguatti made huge advances in micromosaic technique, resulting in renderings that were truer to life. Glass micromosaic technique developed in the 18th century, in the Vatican Mosaic Workshop in Rome, where they still undertake restoration work today.

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

A chased gold clasp inset with an eight-sided mosaic depicting Romulus and Remus with the wolf in a malachite surround, affixed to a band of woven hair.

Place of Origin

Rome (made)

Date

1820-50 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Chased gold, carved malachite and micromosaic with a band of woven hair

Dimensions

Length: 18.8 cm Entire length including strap, Width: 3.5 cm Strap, Height: 3.9 cm Micromosaic plaque, Width: 4.8 cm Micromosaic plaque, Height: 5.1 cm Plaque surround, Width: 6.5 cm Plaque surround, Depth: 1.4 cm Plaque surround

Object history note

Provenance: M. Elstein, London.

Historical significance: Two other Gilbert micromosaics illustrate the same subject. Loan: Gilbert.206:1-2008, a plaque, which is shown in an adjacent drawer.

Historical context note

Romulus and Remus were the twin sons of Mars, god of war, and a vestal virgin, who accused Mars of violating her. She was thrown into prison and her sons were ordered to be drowned in the Tiber. They survived and were reared by a she-wolf as shown in the micromosacis plaque on this bracelet. Romulus became the legendary founder of Rome.

Descriptive line

Bracelet with Romulus and Remus, Rome, 1820-50.

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

Gonzalez-Palacios, Alvar and Steffi Röttgen with essays by Steffi Röttgen, Claudia Przyborowski; essays and new catalogue material translated by Alla Theodora Hall. The Art of Mosaics: Selections from the Gilbert Collection. Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1982. 224 p., ill. Cat. no. 77. ISBN 0875871097
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. 175, p. 239. ISBN 0856675113.
Gonzalez-Palacios, Alvar. The Art of Mosaics: Selections from the Gilbert Collection, Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) 1977. 143 p., ill. Cat. no. 70. ISBN 0875870805.
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. 57.

Labels and date

[]
4. Bracelet with Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, 1820–40

Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.138-2008 [16/11/2016]
Bracelet with Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome
1820–40

Wide bracelets became fashionable in the 1820s. Several were often worn together on one wrist. This one depicts Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome, who were rescued as infants from the river Tiber by a female wolf. The wolf raised the twins until they were discovered by the shepherd Faustulus.

Rome, Italy
Glass micromosaic, malachite and gold, with a band of woven hair
Museum no. Loan:Gilbert.138-2008 [2009]

Materials

Gold; Malachite; Mosaic glass; Hair

Techniques

Chasing; Carving; Micromosaic; Weaving

Subjects depicted

Wolf

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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