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Earrings

  • Place of origin:

    Naples (possibly, made)
    Florence (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1808 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Real Laboratorio (maker)
    Opificio delle Pietre Dure (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pietre dure, lapis lazuli, chalcedony, gold; the 'pearls' made from half-beads of rock crystal, set with the flat surface up, and the underside apparently coated with silver leaf

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.168:1, 2-2008

  • Gallery location:

    Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 72, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries, case 7, shelf 2 []

By tradition this piece, part of a set, is believed to have belonged to Caroline Murat (1782-1839), Queen of Naples. Their accompanying leather box is stamped with a crowned 'C' in gold.

Documentary evidence in the archives of the Opificio in Florence and in the archives in Naples suggest that this parure, or set of jewelry, may have been produced in either centre. Hardstone mosaic techniques emerged in Florence, where Ferdinand de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, founded the Grand Ducal Workshop (Opificio delle Pietre Dure) in 1588. It still operates today under the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage.

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

Gold earrings set with lapis lazuli plaques inset with shells and pearls in pietre dure mosaic.

Place of Origin

Naples (possibly, made)
Florence (possibly, made)

Date

ca. 1808 (made)

Artist/maker

Real Laboratorio (maker)
Opificio delle Pietre Dure (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Pietre dure, lapis lazuli, chalcedony, gold; the 'pearls' made from half-beads of rock crystal, set with the flat surface up, and the underside apparently coated with silver leaf

Dimensions

Length: 5.4 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Probably Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples. Delessert family. Marthe Bocher. Jacques Kugel, Paris, 1975.

Descriptive line

Pietre dure set: Earrings. Naples or Florence, ca.1808.

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

Lenti, Lia, and Bergesio, Maria Cristina. Dizionario del Gioiello Italiano del XIX e XX Secolo. Turin: Allemandi 2006, p.77.
Arte e Manifattura di corte a Firenze dal tramonto dei Medici all'Impero (1732-1815). Exhibition Catalogue. Florence: Palazzo Pitti/Palazzina della Meridiana 2006, pp. 252, 253, no. 170 and images.
Giusti, Anna Maria. Pietre Dure and the Art of Florentine Inlay. London: Thames & Hudson 2006, p. 216, pl. 173.
Gonzalez-Palacios, Alvar. The Art of Mosaics: Selections from the Gilbert Collection. Exhibition catalogue. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art 1977, no. 30.
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. 32. ISBN 0875871097
Gonzalez-Palacios, Alvar, Mosaici e pietre dure, Mosaici a piccole tessere. Milan: Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri 1982, pp. 69-70.
Wheeler, Daniel, ed. with introduction by Alexis Gregory. Princely Taste: Treasures from Great Private Collections. Exhibition catalogue, Jerusalem: Israel Museum, vol. 369, 1995, p. 77.
'Conversation with an Avid Collector: an Interview about the Collection of Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert'. Catalogue for Designers West 34, no. 5, Los Angeles, March 1987, p.120.
Giusti, Anna Maria, Pietre Dure: L'arte europea del mosaico negli arredi e nelle decorazioni dal 1500 al 1800. Turin: Allemandi, 1992, pp. 235, 246.
Massinelli, Anna Maria with contributions by Jeanette Hanisee Gabriel. Hardstones: The Gilbert Collection. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd. in association with The Gilbert Collection, 2000. 329 p., ill. Cat. no. 87, pp. 201-202. ISBN 0856675105.
Koeppe, Wolfram and Annamaria Giusti.with contributions by Cristina Acidini ... [et al.] ; edited by Wolfram Koeppe. Art of the Royal Court. Treasures in Pietre Dure from the Palaces of Europe.. New York : Metropolitan Museum of Art ; New Haven ; London : Yale University Press, c2008, p. 317, cat. no. 125.

Labels and date

2. Necklace, comb, earrings and tiara
with shells
About 1808

This jewellery probably belonged to Caroline Murat (1782–1839), Queen of Naples. The original case with the crowned letter ‘C’ is also part of the Gilbert’s collection. The ‘pearls’ are made from rock crystal half-beads. Set with their flat surfaces up, their curved underside is coated in silver leaf.

Naples or Florence, Italy
Gold, with pietre dure (hardstone mosaic) panels of lapis lazuli and chalcedony
Museum nos. Loan:Gilbert.165 to 168:1, 2-2008 [16/11/2016]
Necklace, comb, earrings
and tiara with shells
About 1808

This jewellery is believed to have belonged to Caroline Murat (1782–1839), Queen of Naples.

Naples or Florence, Italy
Gold, with pietre dure (hardstone mosaic) panels
of lapis lazuli and chalcedony
Museum nos. Loan:Gilbert.165 to 168:1, 2-2008 [2009]

Production Note

Documentary evidence in the archives of the Opificio in Florence and in the archives in Naples both suggest that the parure may have been produced in either centre.

Materials

Hardstone; Lapis lazuli; Chalcedony; Gold; Rock crystal; Silver leaf

Techniques

Pietre dure; Setting

Subjects depicted

Shells; Pearls

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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