Vilhelm Christesen (1822–1899)
Object Place: Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark
Diameter x depth: 5 x 0.7 cm (1 15/16 x 1/4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery (Gallery 104)
The citizens of Denmark experienced a surge of nationalism during and after the 1848 war with Prussia. Jewelers were no exception and following the publication of J.J.A. Worsaae’s Nordic Antiquities. The Royal Museum in Copenhagen (1854), they had access to detailed, engraved plates of historic adornments dating to the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Migration Period, and Middle Ages. Artists used these illustrations to make exact copies of earlier jewelry as well as ornaments in the spirit of the antique.
A leading jewelry firm known for creating ornaments in the Old Nordic style was the Copenhagen workshop of Vilhelm Christesen. He, along with the Danish firms of E.F. Dahl and Anton Michelsen, exhibited at the international expositions during the second half of the nineteenth century. The style proved popular beyond Scandinavia, especially in England where jewelry by Dahl and Christesen were sold in A. Borgen & Co.’s Royal Danish Galleries on New Bond Street.
This hinged bangle and belt buckle are made of gold sheet decorated with twisted wires, gold balls, and heavy, gold appliqués in the form of snakes, masks, and Nordic crosses. Both objects are bordered by a row of alternating diamond-shaped appliqués and small, gold balls. The matt background is textured, providing a contrast with the polished decorative elements.
This hinged bangle and belt buckle were designed by the Copenhagen jewelry firm of Vilhelm Christesen, who earned a reputation for creating ornaments in the Old Nordic style. After Christesen and two other Danish firms, E. F. Dahl and Anton Michelsen, exhibited at the international expositions of the second half of the nineteenth century, those styles became popular beyond Scandinavia, particularly in England.
These matching ornaments are made of heavy gold sheet decorated with twisted wires, gold balls, and thick gold appliqués in the form of snakes, masks, and Nordic crosses. A row of alternating diamond-shaped appliqués and small gold balls border both objects. The background of textured matte provides a contrast to the polished decorative elements.
Gift of Mrs. Francis C. Foster