Gold necklace with painted enamel scenes

France (?), mid-17th century AD

Possibly made in the Toutin workshops

The necklace was probably made by an enameller associated with the Toutin workshops, but the faceted spacer beads and linking elements probably date to the early nineteenth century.

The Toutin family operated enamelling workshops in Blois and Paris around 1630-83. A number of enamel-painters specializing in landscapes and in flower painting are known from documentary records, but few signed or documented pieces survive.

Jean Toutin (1578-1644) is generally credited with the development in the early seventeenth century of a technique of enamel painting, whereby powdered enamel is mixed with oil and painted onto an already fired enamelled ground. The use of grisaille, or shaded monochrome tones, usually on a white ground, produces the effect of a drawing or engraving. These delicate and skilfully painted miniatures and figures are probably based on paintings or prints, and are truly remarkable for their small scale. The allegorical and mythological standing figures represent: Hope, Temperance, Prudence, Geometry, Mercury, Justice, Faith, Minerva, Philosophy and Fortitude. In sharp contrast are the larger scale, vibrantly coloured naturalistic flowers on the reverse of the plaques.

Painted enamels are associated with northern European courtly life, and were used for portrait miniatures and to decorate such small objects as medallions, watch cases and boxes. Other centres for the production of miniature painted enamels during this period were Geneva, Berlin and Augsburg.

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Gold necklace with painted enamel scenes

Coloured flower scenes

  • Black and white allegorical figures and landscapes

    Black and white allegorical figures and landscapes


More information


H. Tait and C. Gere, The jewellers art: an introduc (London, The British Museum Press, 1978)

C. Gere and others, The art of the jeweller: a cat, 2 vols. (, 1984)


Length: 40.500 cm (overall)
Height: 1.200 cm (octagonal plaques)

Museum number

M&ME HG cat. 285


Gift of Professor and Mrs John Hull Grundy


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