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  • Chatelaine
    Boulton, Matthew, born 1728 - died 1809
  • Enlarge image


  • Place of origin:

    Soho (Birmingham) (made)
    Etruria (Jasper, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1785 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Boulton, Matthew, born 1728 - died 1809 (manufacturer)
    Josiah Wedgwood and Sons (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cut steel, set with Jasper plaques

  • Credit Line:

    Pfungst Reavil Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118; The Wolfson Gallery, case 1

Object Type
Chatelaines were hung from the belt and were used to carry useful everyday objects such as seals, scissors and keys. These were attached by split-rings to the ends of the chains.

This chatelaine was made at the Soho Manufactory of Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) between about 1775 and his retirement in 1800, when he was in partnership with John Fothergill (died 1782) and the engineer James Watt (1736-1819).

Boulton specialised in the production of small attractive wares made in cut and polished steel, such as buttons and chatelaines. He was able to produce them cheaply because he used mass-production methods. For example, large brushes driven by cranks powered by a water-wheel were used to polish the steel wares, which, in the words of a contemporary, 'effected a considerable saving of human labour'.

Designs for chatelaines similar to this one are shown on several plates from the Boulton Pattern Book, now in Birmingham City Library. Some plates are dated 1775, but the general style of the chatelaines suggest that they were made closer to 1800. Each individual design is numbered. Some of the sword-hilts made by Boulton in the Soho Manufactory are mounted with ceramic beads very similar in style and colour to those used on this chatelaine.

Place of Origin

Soho (Birmingham) (made)
Etruria (Jasper, made)


ca. 1785 (made)


Boulton, Matthew, born 1728 - died 1809 (manufacturer)
Josiah Wedgwood and Sons (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Cut steel, set with Jasper plaques


Length: 28.6 cm

Object history note

Steel probably made in Birmingham; Jasper made at Josiah Wedgwood's factory, Etruria, Staffordshire

Descriptive line

Chatelaine (a hanging set of personal accessories), cut steel, set with jasper-ware plaques, probably Birmingham, ca. 1785

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

Stemp, Sinty, "Ornamental or Useful: A Cut Steel Chatelaine by Boulton and Wedgwood", The Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, Vol. 17, June 2009, ISSN. 1359124X, pp. 1-13, ill. p. 1

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Chatelaines, called 'equipages' in the 18th century, were hung with small domestic accessories, such as a thimble or toothpick. They were worn by women at their waists. The combination of cut steel and Wedgwood cameos was very fashionable at this date. [27/03/2003]
22. CHATELAINE, cut steel, set with jasper-ware plaques,
England (probably Birmingham); c. 1785
Museum No. M.25-1969 [07/1994]


Steel; Jasper


Personal accessories; Europeana Fashion Project


Metalwork Collection

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