Dating to ca. 1680 for the portrait and c.1850 for the lovely Victorian pendant/brooch frame, this special jewel comes straight from my personal collection of wearable portrait miniatures!
This rare oil on copper portrait depicts a pretty lady of perhaps 30 years old, and dates to c.1680. This upper-class beauty would have been considered an exceptionally handsome woman in her day, and she is painted with the skill of an Old Master! This lady has a pleasing, intelligent expression, and looks right at the viewer with a measure of confidence.
This historic gentlewoman has brown eyes, rosy cheeks, and her dark brown hair is gathered back from her forehead into a low bun on the back of her neck, a very typical fashion during the last three decades of the 17th-century. She also wears pearl drop earrings, and a blue gown with a fashionable and expensive point-lace collar. I love her expression; she has a bit of a "Mona Lisa" smile, and I cannot help wondering what she is thinking!
This miniature was clearly painted by an academic artist, although as with many portrait miniatures, this example is not signed. It is, however, in splendid condition for its 325 years! There is just one tiny spot at the 11:00 position where the background has chipped; it is not noticeable when worn, and does not detract from the integrity or value of this work of art. Otherwise, this portrait is just as charming as when it was painted over three centuries ago!
This portrait is mounted in an early Victorian gilt pendant brooch. When I acquired this lovely lady, she was unframed, so I searched for a wearable frame as elegant as she is, and discovered this example. The miniature measures 1 1/2" x 1 1/4" alone, and 2 1/2" x 2 1/8" framed. The frame is in pristine condition, and retains both of its crystals.
The reverse of this jewel also retains its original "T and C" clasp, with the pin protruding 1/2" paste the frame as a "keeper. There is also a bail and jump ring on the back of the frame which allows it to be worn as a pendant. I have secured the extra space in the locket with acid-free cotton. This lovely jewel weighs 31 grams, and looks splendid with anything you wear!
This jewel has a grace and dignity worthy of its subject, and it is truly a unique piece! I enjoyed wearing this pretty jewel for several years, but it has been sitting in the bank vault, which is a shame - it deserves to be worn and cherished!
If you collect the finest in early portrait miniatures or fine antique jewelry, this exquisite example belongs in your collection! It would also make an investment-quality holiday gift for any lady who loves historical portrait jewelry. Do not miss this opportunity to acquire a 17th-century portrait miniature with a desirable subject; I am keeping the rest!
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