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

Pair of Buckles

ca. 1750-1760 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This pair of buckles was formerly in the Russian royal collection. It was included in a sale of part of the jewellery held in London in 1927.

Shoe buckles were fashionable for both men and women for most of the 18th century. Although they were functional items they could be richly decorated. Many buckles in paste or imitation stones have survived but it is rare for examples in precious stones to survive. Jewellers made buckles in precious stones and silversmiths made plain silver ones.

Knee buckles were used from 1720s to fasten breeches legs just below the knee. 'In the later 18th and 19th to 20th centuries, they matched the shoe buckle and came boxed in matching sets' (June Swann, Catalogue of Shoe and other Buckles in Northampton Museum, Northampton, 1981).

It seems likely that the steel chapes for this pair of buckles were supplied to the jeweller by the firm recorded in the Birmingham Directory of 1770 as Glover and Chamot, merchants, of 1, Cannon Street. Peter Chamot's letters record that in 1763 he began a sales tour lasting twelve months which took him to Holland, Germany, Austria, and France. Glover and Chamot were major suppliers of steel goods, including buckles and buttons, to Mrs Blakey, who ran a toyshop, a shop for small fashionable articles, Le Magazin Anglois (sic), in Paris in the later 1760s. Given the extent of the firm's exports, it appears to be possible that the jeweller's work could have been executed in one of a number of European centres, including London, Paris or St Petersburg before being acquired for the Russian royal collections.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Buckle
  • Buckle
Materials and Techniques
Brilliant-cut diamonds and sapphires, set in silver and gold, and steel chapes
Brief Description
Rectangular buckles with incurving sides, brilliant-cut diamonds and sapphires, set in silver and gold, Europe, ca. 1750-60, the chapes made in Birmingham
Physical Description
Rectangular buckles with incurving sides, brilliant-cut diamonds and sapphires, set in silver and gold. Each chape has a shaped steel pinder, which is struck with the name of Glover. A number of the sapphires have lost almost all the blue colour from their foils.
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
GLOVER
Credit line
Given by Dame Joan Evans
Object history
These buckles were formely in the Russian royal collections.



Russia's Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones, Part III (The People's Comissariat of Finance, Moscow, 1926, page 24, no. 107, plate LVIII, photographs 123, 124) records the buckles with a larger pair of buckles as being listed in the inventory of 1898 (numbers 119/115 and 118/114) and in the 1922 inventory (numbers 475/118 and 119). The buckles are described as shoe buckles, one pair for a gentleman, the other for a lady, about 1750. The larger buckles bore the stamp 'Clover', presumably the same mark as that on the smaller pair interpreted here as 'Glover', the name of a well-known Birmingham supplier of steel goods. 'The two large buckles are decorated with 16 light Ceylon sapphires (about 20 c.[carats] in solid silver à-jour, with a steel clasp bearing the stamp 'Clover' on it. The smaller buckles are set very similarly with 16 sapphires about 9 m. c. [metric carats] and diamonds about 7 m. c.'. 'Fine and very neat workmanship.'



Dr Svetlana A. Amelkhina, Senior Research Fellow and Curator of the Textile Department of the State Museums of the Moscow Kremlin, has suggested that the smaller pair of buckles (the pair now in the V&A's collection) were knee buckles, matching the larger pair of shoe buckles. She cites the 1865 Diamond Room Inventory, Russian State Historical Archive, St Petersburg, complex of documents 468, inventory 43, unit 1025.



The smaller pair of buckles was sold at Christie's, London, 16 March 1927, lot 9, where it was bought by S. J. Phillips Ltd., London, for £48. It was given by Dame Joan Evans to the V&A in 1962.
Summary
This pair of buckles was formerly in the Russian royal collection. It was included in a sale of part of the jewellery held in London in 1927.



Shoe buckles were fashionable for both men and women for most of the 18th century. Although they were functional items they could be richly decorated. Many buckles in paste or imitation stones have survived but it is rare for examples in precious stones to survive. Jewellers made buckles in precious stones and silversmiths made plain silver ones.



Knee buckles were used from 1720s to fasten breeches legs just below the knee. 'In the later 18th and 19th to 20th centuries, they matched the shoe buckle and came boxed in matching sets' (June Swann, Catalogue of Shoe and other Buckles in Northampton Museum, Northampton, 1981).



It seems likely that the steel chapes for this pair of buckles were supplied to the jeweller by the firm recorded in the Birmingham Directory of 1770 as Glover and Chamot, merchants, of 1, Cannon Street. Peter Chamot's letters record that in 1763 he began a sales tour lasting twelve months which took him to Holland, Germany, Austria, and France. Glover and Chamot were major suppliers of steel goods, including buckles and buttons, to Mrs Blakey, who ran a toyshop, a shop for small fashionable articles, Le Magazin Anglois (sic), in Paris in the later 1760s. Given the extent of the firm's exports, it appears to be possible that the jeweller's work could have been executed in one of a number of European centres, including London, Paris or St Petersburg before being acquired for the Russian royal collections.
Bibliographic Reference
Liliane Pérez, 'Steel and toy trade between England and France: the Huntsmans' correspondence with the Blakeys (1765-1769)', Historical Metallurgy, 42 (2), 2008, pp. 127-147.
Collection
Accession Number
M.48&A-1962

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record createdJanuary 28, 2003
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