For the painter princess

Victorian Novelty Brooch with Diamond, Sapphire & Ruby, circa 1900

Some representational motifs recur throughout the history of jewellery: flowers and tendrils, for example, or stars and moons. In the years leading up to the turn of the century, this repertoire was expanded to include motifs never seen before. So-called Novelty jewellery, mostly brooches, depicted motifs from everyday life: With preference, for example, insects, sports utensils, but also other objects that stimulated conversation. The present brooch is an example of this fashion and shows a laurel branch winding through the thumbhole of a colour palette on which a ruby, a diamond and a sapphire represent the colours. The motif can be interpreted in two ways. Firstly, it is probably an allusion to the "painter princes", a term that emerged at the end of the 19th century to describe particularly deserving artists: Raphael, Rubens and Titian, for example, were posthumously so designated, but the influential painters of the Belle Époque were also dubbed painter princes, such as Franz von Stuck. Like some other of the painter princes, he was also nobilitized, which made the term doubly allusive. In the English-speaking world, too, Frederic Leighton, for example, was raised to the rank of baronet in 1886. On the other hand, however, the brooch may make clear that its wearer considers painting to be the highest of the arts: Even in antiquity the laurel branch was regarded as the highest award, and commonly the palette is understood to symbolize pictura, or painting, or denotes as an attribute the personification of the same. Especially in the years around 1900, the primacy of painting within the arts was hotly debated. Thus, the former wearer of the brooch may well have taken a stand - and even today, such an artistic preference can be expressed in the form of this decorative piece of jewellery. We found the beautifully preserved brooch in London.

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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.