The Pelican in her Piety thumbnail 1
The Pelican in her Piety thumbnail 2
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images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

The Pelican in her Piety

Pendant
ca. 1550-1575 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This enamelled gold pendant represents a subject known as 'The Pelican in her Piety'. It refers to the medieval fable of the pelican drawing blood from its own breast to feed its young. This image is used to symbolise Christ sacrificing himself on the cross to redeem the world's sins. The pendant was once in the Treasury of the Cathedral of the Virgin of the Pillar in Saragossa, Spain.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Enamelled gold, set with a ruby simulant (triplet with a top layer of rock crystal, and with red adhesive layer, and foil), and hung with pearls
Brief Description
Pendant, 'The Pelican in her Piety', enamelled gold set with a foiled ruby simulant and hung with pearls, the back with black-and-white moresques enamel. Spain, about 1550-75.
Physical Description
Pendant, 'The Pelican in Its Piety', enamelled gold set with a foiled ruby simulant and hung with pearls, the back with black-and-white moresques.
Dimensions
  • Height: 96mm
  • Width: 38mm
  • Depth: 24mm
Style
Gallery Label
Treasures of the Royal Courts: Tudors, Stuarts and the Russian Tsars label text: The Pelican in her Piety pendant About 1550–75 The pelican feeding her young with blood from her breast is a symbol of Christ. It was associated with Elizabeth as mother of her nation. The queen owned several pelican jewels set with rubies or garnets. One was given by Lady Sidney in 1573. Probably Spain Enamelled gold, set with a foiled ruby simulant (rock crystal with a red adhesive layer) and hung with pearls Bought at the sale of jewels from the treasury of the Cathedral of the Virgin of the Pillar, Zaragoza, 1870 V&A 335-1870
Object history
From the Treasury of the Cathedral of the Virgin of the Pillar, Zaragoza. One of a group of jewels purchased by the Museum in 1870, when the Cathedral authorities sold off treasures presented to the shrine of the Virgin in order to complete their building programme.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This enamelled gold pendant represents a subject known as 'The Pelican in her Piety'. It refers to the medieval fable of the pelican drawing blood from its own breast to feed its young. This image is used to symbolise Christ sacrificing himself on the cross to redeem the world's sins. The pendant was once in the Treasury of the Cathedral of the Virgin of the Pillar in Saragossa, Spain.
Bibliographic Reference
Somers-Cock, Anna, Princely Magnificence: court jewels of the Renaissance, 1500-1630, V&A, 1980, p. 83, cat. 105
Collection
Accession Number
335-1870

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record createdDecember 15, 2002
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