Collection online

brooch / box

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Brooch in ivory of lily of the valley carved in high relief, with the original retailer's box.

  • Date

    • 1850 (circa)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 7.4 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    See C. Gere & J. Rudoe, 'Jewellery in the Age of Queen Victoria: A Mirror to the World', London, British Museum, 2010, fig. 115 p.161. ‘Lily-of-the-valley, with its message, ‘fond return of love’, was used to mark birthdays, as in ‘Many Happy Returns’, as well as in courtship (it also means ‘meekness’, no doubt an attraction to a man looking for a prospective wife). Lily-of-the-valley is found in jet as well as ivory, being associated with death and mourning through its meaning ‘return of happiness’ (to be reunited in death with loved ones).’ The work is close to examples in the Deutsches Elfenbein-Museum in Erbach-im- Odenwald, see Hans Werner Hegemann, 'Elfenbein in der Mode des Neunzehten Jahrhunderts', exhibition catalogue, Deutsches Elfenbein Museum, Erbach 1973, pl. 13, a hair comb with similar high relief lilies-of- the-valley. See also Maren Eichhorn Johannsen, '25,000 Years of Jewelry from the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin', Munich 2013, pp. 286-7, for lily-of-the-valley carved ivory jewellery ascribed to Erbach. (Charlotte Gere)


  • Bibliography

    • Gere et al 1984 213 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G47/dc8

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • HG.1166
Brooch; carved ivory; high relief; lily of the valley; with original box.

Brooch; carved ivory; high relief; lily of the valley; with original box.

Image description



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Object reference number: MCT1619

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