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The Gatacre Jewel

  • Object:

    Pendant

  • Place of origin:

    England (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1550-1560 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Amethyst, mounted in enamelled gold, and hung with pearls

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with Art Fund support

  • Museum number:

    M.7-1982

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 7, shelf B, box 6

This pendant has several alterations.The pearl drops are replacements and the enamelled plate at the back was removed and reinstated upside down at some stage. The cameo is likely to have been made in the Renaissance and the setting around 1550 to 1560, perhaps in England. The jewel belonged to the Gatacre family of Shropshire. It was known as the 'Fair Maid of Gatacre' after Mary (born 1509), daughter of Sir Robert Gatacre. According to family tradition, she was 'a great beauty both in face and character'.

Physical description

An amethyst cameo of Medusa, set in an enamelled gold frame hung with three pearls. The pearl drops probably a later replacement

Place of Origin

England (possibly, made)

Date

ca. 1550-1560 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Amethyst, mounted in enamelled gold, and hung with pearls

Dimensions

Height: 6.9 cm, Width: 3.9 cm, Depth: 1.2 cm

Object history note

Pforzheim Exhibition RF.96/1572. Once thought to be a late Roman gem, but in the opinion of Martin Henig (2007) the gem is likely to be roughly contemporary with the setting.

Descriptive line

An amethyst cameo of Medusa, set in an enamelled gold frame hung with three pearls. Probably England, around 1550-60.

Materials

Gold; Amethyst; Enamel; Pearls

Subjects depicted

Cameos; Cornucopia

Categories

Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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