Necklace

French
about 1840


Object Place: Europe, France

Dimensions

Height x depth x length: 4 x 0.4 x 43 cm (1 9/16 x 3/16 x 16 15/16 in.)

Accession Number

93.147

Medium or Technique

Shell, gold

On View

Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery (Gallery 104)

Collections

Europe, Jewelry

Classifications

Necklaces and neck bands

Six large and small shell cameos carved in Italy set in gold: scroll pattern with six pendant balls. Bacchante, Juno, Minerva, Apollo, Mars and Diana on large cameos; dancing figure on small cameos.


This versatile cameo suite could be worn in its entirety, but its owner probably wore select pieces separately. It includes two brooches with idealized profiles of Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom and the arts, set in elaborate gold settings. Three other brooches with similar mounts illustrate scenes from classical mythology. The necklace that accompanies the brooches is composed of six large cameo medallions alternating with six smaller oval carvings, all of which also depict ancient themes and gods. The cameo carving is Italian, whereas the design of the suite and goldwork is French. The scroll pattern and pendant balls were worked in repoussé with chased and engraved detail; graduated granulated balls decorate the cameo’s frames.
Yvonne J. Markowitz, “Necklace” in Artful Adornments: Jewelry from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston by Yvonne J. Markowitz (Boston: MFA Publications, 2011), 74-75.

Markings

Impressed, unidentified French maker's mark (possibly a P A and an animal or bird) on clasp; rams head

Credit Line

Gift of the Misses Cornelia and Susan Dehon in memory of Mrs. Sidney Brooks