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Lady Granville's beetle parure

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    2016,8037.1.a-e

  • Title (object)

    • Lady Granville's beetle parure
  • Description

    Parure of tiara, necklace and earrings formed of dried South American weevils (lamprocyphus augustus)with iridescent green wing cases, mounted in gold in the Egyptian taste with lotus motifs. On the necklace and earrings, the lotuses are interspersed with tiny gold rods ending in black enamel beads. Contained in the original case made of leather-covered steam-pressed wood with silk lining, and printed in gold inside the lid: ‘Phillips, 23 Cockspur St, London’.

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  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 1884-1885
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Width: 29.5 centimetres
    • Height: 21 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        maker's mark
      • Inscription Position

        tiara and necklace
      • Inscription Comment

        Applied gold trade label of Phillips Brothers, London, with back to back letter P's and the Prince of Wales's feathers.
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    2013 -2015: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney, 'A Fine Possession: Jewellery and Identity'

  • Condition

    Part of a wing of one beetle at the back is detached, some tarnish to the metal, minor losses to the surface of the beetles and old repairs. The necklace has been shortened by one beetle at each end, and the earrings have replacement screw-fittings instead of the original hooks.

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition notes

    Made in 1884-5 for Castalia Rosalind, Countess Granville (1847-1938), second wife of the 2nd Earl Granville. In 1884, Lord Granville (1815-91), as Foreign Secretary, concluded the Anglo-Portuguese trade treaty regarding the Congo river basin. According to family tradition, the Portuguese ambassador wished to mark the treaty by presenting a piece of beetle jewellery to Lady Granville. Lord Granville refused this offer but permitted his wife to accept the beetles, which he then had mounted for her. The parure descended in the Granville family. It was purchased by Wartski, London, in 2011 and sold in 2013 to the Hawkins family, antique dealers of London and Tasmania.

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    2016,8037.1.a-e


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Object reference number: MCT38481

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