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The Heneage Jewel

Locket
ca. 1600 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The Heneage Jewel is decorated with a profile bust of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) in gold. On the reverse is an image of an ark sailing peacefully on stormy seas which represents the Church of England, steered by Elizabeth, weathering religious turmoil.

The Heneage Jewel is one of the finest jewels from the reign of Elizabeth, a tribute to her as sovereign and supreme governor of the church and an expression of courtly love. Sir Roy Strong describes the symbolism of the jewel as moving 'in the classic manner from the external celebration of Elizabeth as a "most royall Queene or Empresse'' to the internal private vision of her as "a most virtuous and beautifull ladie"' (Strong, 1983, p.130).

The jewel was made to be worn by a courtier who had the Queen's favour or sought it. Although Elizabeth's character and talents have often been a matter of controversy, the 'age of Elizabeth' has been celebrated not only for Shakespeare and its contribution to the English Renaissance but for its place in British religious, martime and imperial history. A full account of her reign must include her support for the slave trading voyages of Sir John Hawkins in the 1560s and her approval of a failed venture in 1596 to 'capture and forcibly deport' people of black African descent living in England 'shipping them to Spain or Portugal to be sold as slaves or exchanged for English prisoners of war' (Guy, 2017, pp. 205-6).


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleThe Armada Jewel (popular title)
Materials and Techniques
Enamelled gold, table-cut diamonds, Burmese rubies, rock crystal and a miniature
Brief Description
The Heneage or Armada Jewel, enamelled gold pendant with profile bust in gold of Elizabeth I on blue enamel ground under rock crystal, England, about 1600
Physical Description
Enamelled gold, set with table-cut diamonds and Burmese rubies. Obverse, a bust in gold under rock crystal of Elizabeth I, apparently a version of the Garter Badge of about 1585, surrounded by inscription. Inside, a miniature of the Queen by Nicholas Hilliard. The hinged back of the locket is enamelled outside with the Ark of the English Church on a stormy sea and an inscription. The back of the locket is enamelled inside with a Tudor rose encircled by leaves and an inscription.
Dimensions
  • Height: 7cm
  • Width: 5.1cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'ELIZABETHA D.G. ANG. FRA. ET. HIB. REGINA' (Obverse)
  • 'SAEVAS. TRANQUILLA. PER. VNDAS' (back of locket (outside))
  • 'Hei mihi quod tanto virtus perfusa decore non habet eternos inviolata dies' (back of locket (inside))
Credit line
Given by the Rt. Hon. Viscount Wakefield CBE, through Art Fund
Object history
It was announced by Christie's in 1935 when the jewel was sold from the collection of J. Pierpont Morgan that the unnamed seller of the jewel at an earlier Christie's auction in 1902 had been Colonel Godfrey Walker-Heneage, a descendant of Michael Heneage, the brother of Sir Thomas Heneage, to whom it had been presented by Queen Elizabeth. Sir Thomas Heneage (died 1595) was a Privy Counsellor and Vice-Chamberlain of the Royal Household. However, Sir Roy Strong has dated the pendant as about 1600 partly on the basis of its design and partly because the small ruff under the queen's chin in Hilliard's miniature is found only in 'very late' portraits. This date would suggest that, if the jewel originated in the Heneage family, the first owner was Michael Heneage, who died in 1600. There is no evidence that the jewel was a presentation from Queen Elizabeth, although it is possible that she gave the miniature by Hilliard to a recipient who had the magnificent case made in tribute to the queen.



Sir Roy Strong has argued against the title of Armada Jewel used by Dr. G. C. Williamson in 1906, which was adopted by many authors: the jewel is later than the Armada of 1588.
Historical context
The inscription 'Hei mihi quod ...' appears on the reverse of the Phoenix medal of 1574.

The inscription 'SAEVAS. TRANQUILA ...' is an allusion to the Queen's role as Defender of the Faith
Production
Hilliard was the painter of the miniature which is enclosed within the jewel.
Subjects depicted
Summary
The Heneage Jewel is decorated with a profile bust of Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) in gold. On the reverse is an image of an ark sailing peacefully on stormy seas which represents the Church of England, steered by Elizabeth, weathering religious turmoil.



The Heneage Jewel is one of the finest jewels from the reign of Elizabeth, a tribute to her as sovereign and supreme governor of the church and an expression of courtly love. Sir Roy Strong describes the symbolism of the jewel as moving 'in the classic manner from the external celebration of Elizabeth as a "most royall Queene or Empresse'' to the internal private vision of her as "a most virtuous and beautifull ladie"' (Strong, 1983, p.130).



The jewel was made to be worn by a courtier who had the Queen's favour or sought it. Although Elizabeth's character and talents have often been a matter of controversy, the 'age of Elizabeth' has been celebrated not only for Shakespeare and its contribution to the English Renaissance but for its place in British religious, martime and imperial history. A full account of her reign must include her support for the slave trading voyages of Sir John Hawkins in the 1560s and her approval of a failed venture in 1596 to 'capture and forcibly deport' people of black African descent living in England 'shipping them to Spain or Portugal to be sold as slaves or exchanged for English prisoners of war' (Guy, 2017, pp. 205-6).

Bibliographic References
  • Somers-Cocks, Anna, Princely Magnificence: court jewels of the Renaissance, 1500-1630, V&A, 1980
  • Olney, Richard. 'Lincolnshire's landed elite 1215-2015'. In: Nicholas Bennett, ed. Lincolnshire's Great Exhibition. Treasures, Saints and Heroes. Catalogue of the exhibition held at The Collection, Lincoln, 26 June - 27 September 2015. London: Scala Arts & Heritage Publishers Ltd., 2015. ISBN 9781857599329
  • G.C. Williamson, Catalogue of the Miniatures in the possession of J. Pierpont Morgan, privately printed, London, 1906
  • Roy Strong, with contributions from V. J. Murrell, Artists of the Tudor Court, exhibition Victoria and Albert Museum, 9 July-6 November 1983
  • John Guy, Elizabeth, The Forgotten Years, 2016, Penguin edn. 2017
Collection
Accession Number
M.81-1935

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record createdMarch 14, 2000
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