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Pendant

Artist or maker:
Unknown
Possibly:
André, Alfred (b.1839, d.1919)
Date:
c 1820-1860? {ship}
c 1880-1900? {openwork back, figures, enamelling}
Place of production:
Vienna?, Austria
Paris?, France
Medium:
gold, enamel, diamonds, pearls and green textile
Type of object:
pendants (jewelry)
Accession number:
860

Commentary

Sold in 1903 as a Renaissance treasure with the celebrated provenance of Queen Anne (1665-1715), this intriguing jewel appears to be a fabrication of the mid to late 19th century. The lower half is a copy of an original 16th-century jewel now in Florence, the central figures derive from a Renaissance piece in Dresden, and the openwork top is related to designs created by the Parisian jeweller and forger Alfred André (1839-1919).

When it was sold by Christie’s, London, in November 1903, the jewel was reported in several newspapers because of its royal provenance. It was sold by the descendant of one of Anne’s ministers, Sir George Allardice (1672-1709) as a gift from the Queen, alongside a much less valuable locket with a portrait of Anne that bore the royal crest (lot 94). This was probably the true gift; the jewel must have been given the same provenance to improve its credentials in the sale. It was sold for £6,500, as opposed to £21 made by the locket.

Later scholars have considered the jewel to be mostly original with later adaptations, and have related it to a number of similar jewels possibly made by Giovanni Battista Scolari, a 16th-century Italian jeweller working in Munich. The fashion for Italian commedia dell’arte figures like the musicians on this jewel spread to Germany and influenced contemporary design. However, following more recent research into 19th-century forgery of Renaissance jewels, it seems that this pendant is entirely a much later confection.

According to Charles Truman, the jewel has all the signs of 19th-century manufacture. The lower section is reminiscent of early 19th-century examples of forged Renaissance jewels (see Hugh Tait, "Catalogue of the Waddesdon Bequest in the British Museum: I. The Jewels", (London: British Museum, 1986), pp. 14-18). It is certainly a fairly close replica of a jewel in the Museo degli Argenti, Florence (inv. 2500). This belonged to Anna Maria Luisa de’Medici (1667-1743) and and was in Vienna until 1921. Vienna was a notorious centre for forged enamelled jewels in the 16th-century style (see P. Eudel, “Le truquage”, (Paris, 1884), p. 87). Another jewel with a similar lower section is also now believed to be 19th-century in date (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, acc. no. 1982.60.373, Clare Vincent, "The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art", (1984), pp. 201-2, cat. no. 122).

The distinct openwork back of the pendant, quite unlike anything found on other 'gondola' pendants, relates to moulds used by Alfred André to make fake Renaissance jewels, primarily for the collector and dealer Frédéric Spitzer (1815-1890) (see Alexis Kugel, “Joyaux Renaissance: une splendeur retrouvée” (Paris, 2000), Pl. XIV d). The back of the Waddesdon pendant appears to have been added later to the lower section, and possibly adapted to fit, suggesting it was not even made for it.

The awkwardly-sized figures, identified as Antony and Cleopatra in the 1903 sale, appear to be loose copies of two women from the late 16th-century ‘Brotherly Love’ jewel from the Green Vaults, Dresden, (inv. no. VIII.282). These inconsistencies suggest various pre-existing items were brought together to form an ensemble, rather than being made specifically for this piece.

Other signs also indicate the pendant's complex manufacture. The parrot has been removed and fixed back with lead solder, probably when the central figures were added; the green enamelling on the waves has been touched up with modern enamel; and a piece of fabric has been inserted into the base. It may be that this was done when the pieces were brought together to create an attractive and impressive ensemble, fit for a queen. Whoever adapted these additional pieces certainly tried to emphasise the connotations of great wealth: rather than using a simple cartouche at the top, three diamonds were added to echo those in the ship. The unfortunate result is that they rather cramp the figures below.

Renaissance-style jewels were popular in the 19th-century, as part of historical-based fashions and also as fancy dress. The 1903 sale catalogue notes that ‘At a comparatively recent date a brooch-pin has been added’ (now absent), indicating it was adapted to be worn rather than displayed in a cabinet. The figures of Antony and Cleopatra would have appealed to 19th-century romantic sentiment that inspired such costumes. Renaissance and Baroque printmakers depicted the doomed lovers arriving on a ship, on a boat on the Nile during a fishing trip, and during the disastrous sea battle between Octavius and Marc Antony in 33 BCE. Although these classical narratives would have appealed to 19th-century collectors, as others have pointed out, the figures do not sit comfortably with the low-life commedia dell’arte musicians and rowers on the lower section, again indicating they are later additions.

Phillippa Plock, 2015

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
85 x 66 x 17; weight 69g.

History

Provenance:
Supposedly given by Queen Anne of Great Britain (b.1665, d.1715) to Sir George Allardice (b.1672, d.1709); sold by Robert Barclay Allardice (b.1841) of Rose Hill, Lostwithiel, Cornwall at Christie's, London, 27 November 1903, lot 93 for £6,500 to Charles Wertheimer (b.1842, d.1911); with Goldschmitt, dealer in Frankfurt-am-Main (active c 1904); acquired from Goldschmitt in 1904 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild (b.1845, d.1934); inherited by his son James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957); accepted by The Treasury Solicitor in lieu of taxes on the Estate of Mr James de Rothschild in 1963; given to Waddesdon The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) in 1990.
Collection:
Waddesdon (National Trust)
Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Waddesdon Manor, 1990

Bibliography

Bibliography

Christie, Manson and Woods; A Small Collection of Oriental Porcelain.... A Rare 16th Century Pendant Jewel; 27 November 1903; London; p. 13, lot 93.
Clifford Smith; Jewellery; London; Methuen & Co.; 1908; pp. 197, 246-7, pl. 33.
Joan Evans; A History of Jewellery 1100-1870; London; Faber & Faber; 1953; p. 115.
Yvonne Hackenbroch, Jewels by Giovanni Battista Scolari, The Connoisseur, 159, July 1965, 200-5; pp. 200-201, fig. 2.
Kirsten Piacenti, Renaissance and Baroque Jewellery, Apollo, 105, 1977, 422-427; pp. 423, 425, pl. 3.; late 16th early 17th century.
Yvonne Hackenbroch; Renaissance Jewellery; London; Sotheby Parke Bernet Inc; 1979; pp. 146-48, fig. 380, pl. 12.; dated c. 1570 with figures c. 1590
Jane Ashelford; The Art of Dress: Clothes and Society 1500-1914; London; National Trust Enterprises Limited; 1996; p. 47, pl. 36.
Paola Venturelli, Un pendente a forma di gondola: alcune osservazioni, Critica d'arte. Rivista trimestrale dell'Università Internazionale dell'arte di Firenze, 62, 1999, 54-61; p. 58.
M A Katritzky; The Art of Commedia. A Study in the Commedia Dell'Arte, 1560-1620; Amsterdam; Rodopi; 2006; p. 53.
Treasures from The National Trust; London; The National Trust; 2007; p. 163.

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