- Museum number
Enamelled gold and porcelain brooch in the form of a spray of orange blossom. In the original leather case which is labelled on the silk lining.
- Production date
- 1845 (circa)
Width: 6.70 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from catalogue of the Hull Grundy Gift (Gere et al 1984) no. 687:
This brooch is related in design and technique (notably in the rare use of porcelain for the flowers) to a set of jewellery given to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1845 (see Gere 1972, pp. 22-3). The set was said by Queen Victoria, in a letter dated February 1846, to have been designed by her husband, but the watercolour by the Queen herself (Fig. 44; Royal Library, Windsor Castle) suggests that she had some part in it. The watercolour is taken from the scrapbook assembled by G. Whitford, who worked for Messrs Garrard from 1857 to 1891, and is labelled below: Painted by the Queen Victoria.
The commission for this set went to Garrards, who had succeeded Rundell & Bridge as royal jewellers in 1843, and it seems certain that the royal set would have been made in their workshop. Hunt & Roskell may have acted simply as retailers of this brooch. They traded under the name from 1846, but the relationship between this brooch and Queen Victoria's set is so close as to suggest the same workshop. Orange-blossom was chosen for wedding wreaths and bouquets as it means 'chastity' or 'your purity equals your loveliness'. For orange- blossom sprays with shell petals see 718, 719, 722 and 731. (Charlotte Gere).
Supplement to catalogue entry: Very similar in design and technique to a set of jewellery said to have been designed by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria and given to her in installments from 1839 to 1846. See Shirley Bury's 'Jewellery 1789-1910', vol. 1 p. 303. A watercolour (fig. 44 in HG catalogue) of a similar brooch made by Garrards in 1888 at the Queen's request for the Princess of Wales is in the Royal Archives. See Shirley Bury vol. 2, p. 598. Other similar pieces may have been made for members of the Royal family in the intervening years.
See Jonathan Marsden (ed.), Victoria & Albert, Love & Art, 2010, cat. no. 248, for the complex history of the suite of porcelain and gold jewellery given by Prince Albert to Queen Victoria. The earliest gift, a sprig brooch, has French marks. It is suggested that the later pieces, including the wreath, second sprig brooch and earrings, are the work of more than one maker.
See also C. Gere & J. Rudoe, 'Jewellery in the Age of Queen Victoria: A Mirror to the World', London, British Museum, 2010, fig. 16, p.31. Caption: ‘Three orange blossom brooches, English, 1830–50’
The very public use of orange blossom for wreath and trimming by Victorian royal brides ensured its popularity for weddings over a long period. (Charlotte Gere)
- On display (G47/dc8)
- Exhibition history
2010 11 May-14 Aug, London, British Museum (G90), 'Jewellery in the Age of Queen Victoria'
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number