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Queen Victoria

  • Object:

    Brooch

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    1851 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lebas, Paul Victor (carvers)
    Dafrique, Félix (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Shell cameo, mounted with gold, and set with emeralds and diamonds

  • Museum number:

    M.340-1977

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 19, shelf D, box 2 []

This brooch shows the young Queen Victoria. The design is based on a portrait of her in Garter Robes by Thomas Sully painted 1838. The image on the brooch is in reverse from the portrait and it probably follows a lithograph by Henri Grevedon published in Paris in 1839 which is also in reverse. We think that the French jeweller Félix Dafrique showed this brooch at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. There he received a Prize Medal for his 'polychromic cameos'. Dafrique played a leading role in reviving the Renaissance fashion for commessi brooches. A commesso is a type of cameo further decorated with enamelled gold and jewels.

Physical description

Brooch set with a commesso portrait of Queen Victoria, shell cameo (Bull's mouth or Cassis rufa), mounted with gold, enamelled and set with table-cut and cabochon emeralds and rose-cut diamonds. The shell cameo is embellished with enamelled gold, diamonds and emeralds, and the gold frame is decorated with enamelled roses of Lancaster and York. The reverse of the shell is signed : 'Paul Lebas / Graveur / 1851 / Paris'. The gold mounts struck with the maker's mark of Felix Dafrique and a French export mark in use from 1840 onwards.

Place of Origin

France (made)

Date

1851 (made)

Artist/maker

Lebas, Paul Victor (carvers)
Dafrique, Félix (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Shell cameo, mounted with gold, and set with emeralds and diamonds

Marks and inscriptions

'Paul Lebas / Graveur / 1851 / Paris'
The reverse of the shell is signed

The gold mounts struck with the maker's mark of Felix Dafrique

The gold mounts struck with a French export mark in use from 1840 onwards

Dimensions

Height: 6.1 cm, Width: 6 cm, Depth: 2 cm, Height: 5.2 cm cameo, Width: 4.2 cm cameo

Object history note

New York Exhibition RF.1998/862

Shell cameo (Bull's mouth or Cassis rufa), mounted with gold, enamelled and set with table-cut and cabochon emeralds and rose-cut diamonds; gold frame with enamelled roses of Lancaster and York. The cameo is a free adaptation (reversed of Thomas Sully's portrait of Queen Victoria in Garter Robes, dated 1838 (a version of the painting in the Wallace Collection was engraved by Wagstaff and published in 1839). The reverse of the shell is signed : Paul Lebas/Graveur/1851/Paris. The gold mounts struck with the maker's mark of Felix Dafrique and a French export mark in use from 1840 onwards. Dafrique was probably responsible for reviving the Renaissance vogue for commessi, small works or art made from a combination of stones (in this case, shell is substituted for hardstone). The jeweller was awarded a Prize Medal at the Great Exhibition in 1851 for 'polychromic cameos', which probably included this example.

Descriptive line

Commesso of Queen Victoria, shell cameo, mounted with gold, enamelled and set with emeralds and diamonds, cameo carved by Paul Lebas and made by Félix Dafrique, France, 1851

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

Hidden Treasures, an interactive made by Rory Matthews and the William and Judith Bollinger Gallery team, 2008. Available in the gallery and on the V&A website.
Princely magnificence : court jewels of the Renaissance, 1500-1630: An exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 15 Oct. 1980-1st Feb. 1981., V&A 1980, p.133, cat. H2

Bury, Shirley Jewellery 1789-1910 (Woodbridge, 1991), vol i, pp. 227-8, 243
Gere, Charlotte The Art of the Jeweller: A Catalogue of the Hull Grundy Gift to the British Museum : Jewellery, Engraved Gems, and Goldsmiths' Work, Volume 1, p. 136

Labels and date

COMMESSO of QUEEN VICTORIA
Shell cameo (Bull's mouth or Cassis rufa), mounted with gold, enamelled and set with table-cut and cabochon emeralds and rose-cut diamonds; gold frame with enamelled roses of Lancaster and York. The cameo is a free adaptation (reversed) of Thomas Sully's portrait of Queen Victoria in Garter Robes, dated 1838 (a version of the painting in the Wallace Collection was engraved by Wagstaff and published in 1839). The reverse of the shell signed: Paul Lebas/Graveur/ 1851/ Paris.
FRENCH (Paris): 1851.
The gold mounts struck with the maker's mark of Félix Dafrique and a French export mark in use from 1840 onwards. Dafrique was probably responsible for reviving the Renaissance vogue for commessi, small works of art made from a combination of stones (in this case, shell is substituted for hardstone). The jeweller was awarded a Prize Medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851 for 'polychromic cameos', which probably included this example.
M.340-1977 [1982]
Brooch with portrait of Queen Victoria
France, Paris, dated 1851; cameo by Paul Lebas (active 1829-70), gold mounts made by Félix Dafrique
Shell cameo mounted in gold, enamelled and set with emeralds and diamonds
The cameo taken from Thomas Sully's portrait of Queen Victoria in Garter robes, 1838
Probably shown at the Great Exhibition, London, 1851
Museum no. M.340-1977 [2008]

Materials

Shell; Gold; Emerald; Diamond

Subjects depicted

Cameo; Crowns (headdresses); Bow (ribbon); Beauty; Monarchy; Queens (people); Flowers (plants); Fur, Ermine; Portraits; Chains

Categories

Images Online; Jewellery; Portraits; Royalty; Great Exhibition

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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