Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Bags: Inside Out, Room 40

Chatelaine

ca. 1863 - ca. 1885 (made)
Place Of Origin

A chatelaine would have hung from a lady’s waist and was intended to be both decorative and practical. The small tools and accessories that might be incorporated included a watch, scissors, tweezers, magnifying glass, scent flask and miniature notebook or ivory writing tablet.

Cut steel was a fashionable material for jewellery, buttons, buckles, sword hilts and watch chains in the decades around 1800. They were made from brightly polished rivets, their ends faceted to imitate diamonds. Such pieces gave a grey but powerful glitter. Originally an English speciality, the production of cut steel had spread to other centres in Europe by the early 19th century.



object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 14 parts.

  • Chatelaine
  • Scissors
  • Scent Bottle
  • Case
  • Case Top
  • Miniature Bucket
  • Needle Case
  • Cigar Cutter?
  • Case
  • Case
  • Paper Knife or Letter Opener
  • Writing Tablet Case
  • Notebook
  • Magnifying Glass
Materials and Techniques
Cut steel and ivory (African Loxodonta)
Brief Description
Cut-steel chatelaine with attachments, England, circa 1863 - 1885







Physical Description
Chatelaine, cut steel, the hook-plate formed as a crowned monogram.
Dimensions
  • Height: 53.5cm
  • Width: 35cm
  • Depth: 2cm
The measurements reflect the object as a whole.
Credit line
Pfungst Reavil Bequest
Object history
Gill MacGregor (see references) has identified the monogram and crown to be that used by Alexandra, Princess of Wales between 1863 and 1885. Thornhill & Co. of Bond Street, one of the foremost producers of chatelaines is the likely maker, but the chatelaine's ownership remains unclear despite the crowned cypher - at the Great Exhibition of 1851 Thornhill & Co. exhibited a chatelaine plaque which was a promotional piece in which they celebrated their royal patronage by adding the crowned initials of Victoria and Albert and the Prince of Wales' feathers.
Subjects depicted
Summary
A chatelaine would have hung from a lady’s waist and was intended to be both decorative and practical. The small tools and accessories that might be incorporated included a watch, scissors, tweezers, magnifying glass, scent flask and miniature notebook or ivory writing tablet.



Cut steel was a fashionable material for jewellery, buttons, buckles, sword hilts and watch chains in the decades around 1800. They were made from brightly polished rivets, their ends faceted to imitate diamonds. Such pieces gave a grey but powerful glitter. Originally an English speciality, the production of cut steel had spread to other centres in Europe by the early 19th century.



Bibliographic Reference
Gill MacGregor 'Identifying and mounting a circa 1863 - 1902 monogrammed chatelaine in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London'. The Journal of Dress History, Volume 4, Issue 3, Autumn 2020, pp 72-101.
Collection
Accession Number
M.32:1 to 13-1969

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record createdJanuary 20, 2003
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