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Bodice ornament

Bodice ornament

  • Place of origin:

    Russia (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1760 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Brilliant-cut diamonds set in silver

  • Credit Line:

    Cory Bequest

  • Museum number:

    M.93-1951

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, room 91, case 54, shelf A, box 1

This bow brooch is the largest from a set of three. The bows would have been worn together: the largest on the front of the bodice, the smaller bows on the shoulders. It is rare for such magnificent diamond jewellery to survive intact, because succeeding generations tended to melt it down and re-make it in the latest fashion.

Physical description

Diamond bow brooch, from a set of three, silver set with brilliant-cut diamonds.

Place of Origin

Russia (possibly, made)

Date

ca. 1760 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Brilliant-cut diamonds set in silver

Dimensions

Height: 6.9 cm, Width: 11.9 cm, Depth: 2.3 cm

Object history note

This bow forms part of a set with two smaller bows (M.94&A-1951). The relative sizes of the bows, one larger bow with two smaller ones of approximately equal size, suggest that the large bow would have been worn as a breast ornament, with one bow worn on each shoulder.

A Russian origin has been suggested for the bows, as is the case for other items in Lady Cory's bequest. They are not listed in the Diamond Fund catalogue compiled at the order of the Bolshevik government and they were not amongst that part of the Russian royal jewellery sold by a syndicate at Christie's on 16 March 1927. However, Dr. S. A. Amelekhina (State Museums of the Moscow Kremlin) states that the Diamond Fund Catalogue is known to have been incomplete.

The present brooch fittings are later. The bows may originally have been mounted on vertical pins, like examples in the Diamond Fund in the Kremlin (illustrated in Olga W. Gorewa et al., Joyaux du Trésor de Russie, Paris, 1990, p. 51). Dr Amelekhina notes that there were six bows mounted on pins listed in the 1865 inventory of the Diamond Room of the Winter Palace, St Petersburg (Russian State Historical Archive, St Petersburg, complex of documents 468, inventory 43, units 1026 and 1027.

Descriptive line

Diamond bow brooch, from a set of three, silver set with brilliant-cut diamonds, perhaps made in Russia, about 1760

Materials

Diamond; Silver

Subjects depicted

Bow

Categories

Jewellery; Royalty; Fashion

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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