An exquisite very large sized 18ct gold & enamel hand painted Georgian portrait miniature locket in a fitted Moroccan red leather case.
Dating to around 1790 the subject of the watercolour is a very pretty aristocratic young woman. She is painted against a muted blue sky and she is wearing a purple gown with a ribbon bow and a white lace fichu and cuffs. Her long dark hair cascades in ringlets around her shoulders.
The colour purple has been associated with royalty for centuries because the dye was exorbitantly expensive, a pound of purple wool cost more that most people earned in a year. Since it didn't become widely available until 1850, when synthetic dyes hit the market, and this painting predates that, we might safely assume this lady came from a significantly wealthy or even noble background. The portrait is very skillfully painted and and it is signed at the bottom right side but we are unable to read the signature.
The reverse of the locket is equally as superb and features a deep vivid blue enamelled and guilloche engraved glass border. A glass fronted gold oval panel is inset in the centre with gold monogram initials 'JP' against a black woven silk background. We can't help but wonder who 'JP' was and what sort of life she lead!
The locket sits in a red leather, silk lined oval fitted case with brass hook fasteners.
A wonderful piece, steeped in history. Portrait miniatures were used as portable and wearable reminders of loved ones long before the advent of photography and they offer us a fascinating glimpse into the past!
MATERIALS: 18ct rose gold, acid tested
MEASUREMENTS: 3-1/2" (9cm) high including bail, 2-1/2" (6cm) wide
WEIGHT: 59 grams
DATE: Georgian, circa 1790
CONDITION: the locket is in very, very good antique condition and dark marks on the gold are purely camera shadow. On the portrait side there is a tiny chip to the inner edge of the glass with a few loose particles of glass on the inside which are not particularly noticeable, please see photos. This is a rather large locket, pendant style with the glass pegged in place around the gold frame so it doesn't open. The leather case is in a very aged condition with wear to the outer leather, the wood inside is separating and the silk is stained but it has done its job in protecting this locket for hundreds of years!
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