Friday, March 22, 2013

Jewelry in Portraits: Kate Middleton's Scant Jewelry is Indicative of Her Elegant and Understated Style

Kate Middleton (detail) by Paul Emsley, 2012.
Photo Source: Big Think

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

I have scanned hundreds of portraits, looking for those that jump out as my favorites for the Jewelry in Portraits series. Unfortunately, so many amazing portraits portray very little in the way of jewels. Having little to no jewelry to talk about renders most of these otherwise gorgeous portraits unacceptable choices. However, after seeing this portrait of HRH the Duchess of Cambridge, realizing that the scant jewelry she wears is actually indicative of her elegant and understated style, I concluded that I could most definitely highlight her jewelry, or rather the absence thereof.

This is a groundbreaking portrait, one worth documenting in a slightly different light than has been done in the media since it was first displayed on January 11, 2013. The Duchess of Cambridge has a natural beauty that hardly needs enhancement, so that her one visible sapphire and diamond earring is all the more stunning against her chestnut locks.

This particular earring has enormous sentimental value to her and to her husband, and it matches perfectly the only other jewelry I am absolutely certain that she is wearing just out of view in this portrait—her sapphire and diamond engagement ring nestled against her wedding band made of 18k Welsh gold.

Both pieces of jewelry were gifts from her husband, Prince William, who gave them to her because both Kate and the jewels are “very special to him” {English, “What’s in a ring?”}. The ring and the earrings were among his mother’s favorite pieces {Boniface}, and he wanted his wife to have these precious heirlooms as a way to honor his mother’s life and somehow include her in the happy event of their wedding {Wilkes}.

Originally in the form of heavy sapphire studs with diamond halos, Princess Diana’s white gold earrings were altered for Catherine Middleton into a drop style with the large sapphire cabochon, which is surrounded by nine round brilliant diamonds, suspended from a single diamond stud {Diana’s Jewels}. Her engagement ring mirrors this design, featuring “a large oval sapphire surrounded by 14 round diamonds set in 18k white gold” {Diana’s Jewels}.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Boniface, Susie. “Kate Middleton given Diana’s favourite earrings by Prince William.” Mirror News. July 24, 2011. Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/kate-middleton-given-dianas-favourite-143487.
2. Cruz, Debbie. “Kate Middleton’s jewelry in 2012 (Photos).” Examiner. December 25, 2012. Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.examiner.com/article/kate-middleton-s-jewelry-2012.
3. Diana’s Jewels. “Earrings Catherine.” Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.dianasjewels.net/earringscatherine.htm.
4. Diana’s Jewels. “Rings Catherine.” Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.dianasjewels.net/ringscatherine.htm.
5. English, Rebecca. “I’m thrilled! Kate puts on a brave face as she sees first official portrait critics are calling ‘rotten’.” DailyMailOnline. January 11, 2013. Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2260655/Kate-Middleton-Rotten-official-portrait-Duchess-Cambridge-artist-Paul-Emsley-unveiled.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490.
6. English, Rebecca. “What’s in a ring? Palace confirms that Prince William will not be wearing a wedding band when he marries Kate Middleton.” DailyMailOnline. March 31, 2011. Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1372078/Royal-wedding-Palace-confirms-Prince-William-wont-wear-ring-marries-Kate-Middleton.html.
7. Faiola, Anthony. “In uproar over portrait of Duchess of Cambridge, its artist speaks out.” The Washington Post. January 31, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/in-uproar-over-duchess-of-cambridge-portrait-its-artist-speaks-out/2013/01/31/cbe0eff4-6bc4-11e2-8f4f-2abd96162ba8_story.html.
8. Murray, Rheana. “Kate Middleton’s first official portrait revealed: Painting of Duchess of Cambridge met with mixed reaction.” New York Daily News. January 11, 2013. http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/kate-middleton-official-portrait-revealed-article-1.1238145.
9. National Portrait Gallery. “HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.” Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/display/2013/hrh-the-duchess-of-cambridge.php.
10. National Portrait Gallery. “News Release: National Portrait Gallery commissions first official painted portrait of The Duchess of Cambridge.” Last updated January 11, 2013. http://www.npg.org.uk/about/press/news-release-national-portrait-gallery-commissions-first-official-painted-portrait-of-the-duchess-of-cambridge.php.
11. National Portrait Gallery. “The BP Portrait Award 2012: The Exhibition.” Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/exhibitions/bp-portrait-award-2012/the-exhibition.php.
12. Satter, Raphael. “Critics Divided Over Duchess of Cambridge Portrait.” The Big Story. Last updated January 11, 2013. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/prince-williams-wife-kate-gets-official-portrait.
13. Wilkes, David and Fay Schlesinger. “A ring fit for his mother…and his love: Prince William’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring for Kate.” DailyMailOnline. November 17, 2010. Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1330366/Prince-Williams-engagement-ring-Kate-Middleton-sapphire-diamonds.html.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Jewelry in Portraits: Paul Emsley Photo-Realistic Style Captures Kate Middleton's Timeless Beauty

Artist Paul Emsley poses next to his portrait of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge
The portrait is on display at the National Portrait Gallery, London
Photo Source: MSN News
© AP Photo/Sang Tan, 2013

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Paul Emsley’s photographic style is somewhat controversial among art critics, and many believe he butchered the most popular royal since Princess Diana. It may be that he has given the Duchess of Cambridge a timeless beauty, an ageless wisdom that she will “grow into” in the coming years. Or it may be that he has captured her perfectly with his photo-realistic style, and that this is indeed the face of a grown young woman who is already learning to balance a private inner life with a very public outer life.

True to Kate’s wishes, Mr. Emsley worked tirelessly over the course of several months to capture her natural self, which he describes from his two sittings with her as “enormously open and generous” {National Portrait}. He took many photographs of her during their time together, and in their final sitting at KensingtonPalace, he allowed her to choose which photograph he would use for the portrait.

In his early days as a painter Mr. Emsley “worked from life,” but his anxiety over the comfort of his subjects and the advances in photographic precision have shaped his current practice of working primarily from photographs. From the original image, he made close-ups of the details around her eyes, her mouth, her cheekbones, and her hair. It is perhaps this close-up quality, combined with his characteristic dark background, that has most rankled the art critics, many of whom believe that the portrait ages her by ten years or more. The Duchess, however, did not appear rankled in the least by this portrayal of her. It is said that she praised it highly, as did her husband, Prince William.

Unlike the public, who is used to her enhanced media photos, Kate and William must have appreciated the subtle nuances, including the wrinkles around her mouth and her unique cheekbone structure. Perhaps it is wise to take cues from them. Perhaps this is the truest representation of the Duchess that we have seen to date.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Boniface, Susie. “Kate Middleton given Diana’s favourite earrings by Prince William.” Mirror News. July 24, 2011. Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/kate-middleton-given-dianas-favourite-143487.
2. Cruz, Debbie. “Kate Middleton’s jewelry in 2012 (Photos).” Examiner. December 25, 2012. Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.examiner.com/article/kate-middleton-s-jewelry-2012.
3. Diana’s Jewels. “Earrings Catherine.” Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.dianasjewels.net/earringscatherine.htm.
4. Diana’s Jewels. “Rings Catherine.” Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.dianasjewels.net/ringscatherine.htm.
5. English, Rebecca. “I’m thrilled! Kate puts on a brave face as she sees first official portrait critics are calling ‘rotten’.” DailyMailOnline. January 11, 2013. Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2260655/Kate-Middleton-Rotten-official-portrait-Duchess-Cambridge-artist-Paul-Emsley-unveiled.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490.
6. English, Rebecca. “What’s in a ring? Palace confirms that Prince William will not be wearing a wedding band when he marries Kate Middleton.” DailyMailOnline. March 31, 2011. Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1372078/Royal-wedding-Palace-confirms-Prince-William-wont-wear-ring-marries-Kate-Middleton.html.
7. Faiola, Anthony. “In uproar over portrait of Duchess of Cambridge, its artist speaks out.” The Washington Post. January 31, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/in-uproar-over-duchess-of-cambridge-portrait-its-artist-speaks-out/2013/01/31/cbe0eff4-6bc4-11e2-8f4f-2abd96162ba8_story.html.
8. Murray, Rheana. “Kate Middleton’s first official portrait revealed: Painting of Duchess of Cambridge met with mixed reaction.” New York Daily News. January 11, 2013. http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/kate-middleton-official-portrait-revealed-article-1.1238145.
9. National Portrait Gallery. “HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.” Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/display/2013/hrh-the-duchess-of-cambridge.php.
10. National Portrait Gallery. “News Release: National Portrait Gallery commissions first official painted portrait of The Duchess of Cambridge.” Last updated January 11, 2013. http://www.npg.org.uk/about/press/news-release-national-portrait-gallery-commissions-first-official-painted-portrait-of-the-duchess-of-cambridge.php.
11. National Portrait Gallery. “The BP Portrait Award 2012: The Exhibition.” Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/exhibitions/bp-portrait-award-2012/the-exhibition.php.
12. Satter, Raphael. “Critics Divided Over Duchess of Cambridge Portrait.” The Big Story. Last updated January 11, 2013. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/prince-williams-wife-kate-gets-official-portrait.
13. Wilkes, David and Fay Schlesinger. “A ring fit for his mother…and his love: Prince William’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring for Kate.” DailyMailOnline. November 17, 2010. Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1330366/Prince-Williams-engagement-ring-Kate-Middleton-sapphire-diamonds.html.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Jewelry in Portraits: Duchess of Cambridge by Paul Emsley, 2011

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge by Paul Emsley, 2012
A National Portrait Gallery commission given by Sir Hugh Leggatt
in memory of Sir Denis Mahon through the Art Fund

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Reflecting the strains of blue from her shirt and the dark background, the twinkling light emanating from her eyes radiates a playful depth of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Her private smile only adds to that depth. Her chestnut hair cascades like a waterfall, ending in churning brown curls that beg to be touched.

Her beauty is classic and true. Her warmth radiates from the canvas, and her elegant choice in jewelry is perfectly understated. One sapphire earring haloed in diamonds hangs from her right ear, the other shrouded by her lovely hair. Instead of a necklace, she wears a “Windsor blue pussy-bow blouse” tied neatly at her neck {English, “I’m thrilled!”}.

Her beauty is captivating, and though Mr. Paul Emsley, her portraitist, has caught her playful smile, he has also firmly established her grace, poise, and assuring presence. All these will one day serve her well when she becomes Queen of England.

The painting of Her Royal Highness was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery. Mr. Emsley was one of four finalists chosen by the Gallery’s director, Sandy Nairne. Among those who participated in the interviews with the four finalists was the Duchess of Cambridge herself.

Having won the BP Portrait Award in 2007, Mr. Emsley, born in Glasgow and raised in South Africa, was a lauded choice to paint this first portrait of Catherine Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. Held annually at the National Portrait Gallery, the BP Portrait Award claims to “showcase the very best in contemporary painting from around the world.” That makes Mr. Emsley among the best of the best in 21st century painters. 

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Boniface, Susie. “Kate Middleton given Diana’s favourite earrings by Prince William.” Mirror News. July 24, 2011. Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/kate-middleton-given-dianas-favourite-143487.
2. Cruz, Debbie. “Kate Middleton’s jewelry in 2012 (Photos).” Examiner. December 25, 2012. Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.examiner.com/article/kate-middleton-s-jewelry-2012.
3. Diana’s Jewels. “Earrings Catherine.” Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.dianasjewels.net/earringscatherine.htm.
4. Diana’s Jewels. “Rings Catherine.” Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.dianasjewels.net/ringscatherine.htm.
5. English, Rebecca. “I’m thrilled! Kate puts on a brave face as she sees first official portrait critics are calling ‘rotten’.” DailyMailOnline. January 11, 2013. Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2260655/Kate-Middleton-Rotten-official-portrait-Duchess-Cambridge-artist-Paul-Emsley-unveiled.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490.
6. English, Rebecca. “What’s in a ring? Palace confirms that Prince William will not be wearing a wedding band when he marries Kate Middleton.” DailyMailOnline. March 31, 2011. Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1372078/Royal-wedding-Palace-confirms-Prince-William-wont-wear-ring-marries-Kate-Middleton.html.
7. Faiola, Anthony. “In uproar over portrait of Duchess of Cambridge, its artist speaks out.” The Washington Post. January 31, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/in-uproar-over-duchess-of-cambridge-portrait-its-artist-speaks-out/2013/01/31/cbe0eff4-6bc4-11e2-8f4f-2abd96162ba8_story.html.
8. Murray, Rheana. “Kate Middleton’s first official portrait revealed: Painting of Duchess of Cambridge met with mixed reaction.” New York Daily News. January 11, 2013. http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/kate-middleton-official-portrait-revealed-article-1.1238145.
9. National Portrait Gallery. “HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.” Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/display/2013/hrh-the-duchess-of-cambridge.php.
10. National Portrait Gallery. “News Release: National Portrait Gallery commissions first official painted portrait of The Duchess of Cambridge.” Last updated January 11, 2013. http://www.npg.org.uk/about/press/news-release-national-portrait-gallery-commissions-first-official-painted-portrait-of-the-duchess-of-cambridge.php.
11. National Portrait Gallery. “The BP Portrait Award 2012: The Exhibition.” Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/exhibitions/bp-portrait-award-2012/the-exhibition.php.
12. Satter, Raphael. “Critics Divided Over Duchess of Cambridge Portrait.” The Big Story. Last updated January 11, 2013. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/prince-williams-wife-kate-gets-official-portrait.
13. Wilkes, David and Fay Schlesinger. “A ring fit for his mother…and his love: Prince William’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring for Kate.” DailyMailOnline. November 17, 2010. Accessed January 31, 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1330366/Prince-Williams-engagement-ring-Kate-Middleton-sapphire-diamonds.html.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Jewelry in Portraits: Queen Adelaide's Jewels, 1836

Queen Adelaide, 1836 (cropped as a close-up)
Painted by Mr. Martin Shee
Image is in the Public Domain
Source: Wikipedia

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

The few details evidenced in the painting make it conceivable that Her Majesty's beautiful hat pin is the brooch now called Queen Adelaide’s Brooch. Though it was first made as a clasp for one of the Queen’s pearl necklaces, the jewel was worn by successive queens as either a snap or a brooch {Roberts, p. 34}.

Her necklace appears to be composed of diamonds set in high-karat gold. However, it’s more probable that it is the Queen’s favored pearl necklace. In many portraits of Queen Adelaide during and after her reign, she wears a similar necklace composed of a single strand of high-quality white pearls.

Her stomacher appears to be paved in diamonds, with three larger central stones that might be either diamonds or pearls, and it is looped around her waist by a link chain, also set with either large brilliants of round pearls. Though it looks remarkably like Queen Alexandra’s Wedding Brooch, it could not possibly be since that brooch was made nearly thirty years after this portrait was painted.

Her pearl bracelets* appear to match the description of Queen Charlotte’s pearl bracelets. If they are not her mother-in-laws bracelets, then they might be replicas which Adelaide had made, perhaps with her husband’s portrait, cypher, and hair made into clasps framed in diamonds. Finally, though this historian has found nary a description or picture of Queen Adelaide’s wedding and keeper rings, the shape and position of the rings in Mr. Shee’s portrait indicate that these may be the rings she wears here.

*I came across this passage in a magazine from 1885 (Tidings of Nature): "...it being then the fashion to wear two bracelets exactly alike..." The line is reference to the Empress Josephine, who held court in France in the early 1800s. Though it's possible that Queen Adelaide's choice had nothing to do with fashion, it is of course possible that this was a popular trend, as well.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. “1836 Queen Adelaide by Sir Martin Archer Shee (Royal Collection).” Grand Ladies Site. February 20, 2011. Accessed January 23, 2013. http://www.gogmsite.net/empire-napoleonic-and-roman/subalbum-queen-adelaide/1836-queen-adelaide-by-sir-.html.
2. Orr, Clarissa Campbell, ed. Queenship in Britain, 1660-1837: Royal Patronage, Court Culture and Dynastic Politics. ManchesterManchester University Press, 2002.
3. Roberts, Hugh. The Queen’s DiamondsLondon: Royal Collection Publications, 2012.
4. Shee, Martin Archer [Jr., sic] of the Middle TempleLife of Sir Martin Archer Shee, P.R.A., Volume the Second. London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1860.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jewelry in Portraits: Martin Shee Paints Queen Adelaide at Windsor Castle, 1836

(Left) Queen Adelaide's 1836 Portrait Hangs in Buckingham Palace
Photo copyright The Anglophile, 2011.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

On May 14, 1836, Martin Shee arrived at Windsor Castle by order of King William IV. Summoned for the purpose of painting the featured portrait of Queen Adelaide, he settled his supplies into the painting room and spent his first night at the nearby Castle Hotel. The next day, he was relocated to the Round Tower by order of the King, who wished him to enjoy every privilege of being part of the royal circle at Windsor during his stay.

In his father’s memoirs, Mr. Shee’s son, Martin Archer Shee, writes of an awkward moment in the royal presence upon his first sitting with the Queen. It was widely known that “Queen Adelaide was not a romantic figure” and that “portraits of her almost certainly did her more than justice, disguising [her] poor complexion…” {Purdue in Orr, p. 267}.

The Queen, fully aware of the challenges her form presented to portraitists, stood in the archway and spoke jovially, “Oh! Sir Martin, I pity you, indeed, for having such a subject!” {Shee, p. 305}

The circle of onlookers, quite probably including at least the FitzClarences and Lady De Lisle, must have held their collective breath in that moment. The widespread truth of her plain appearance rendered it impossible for him to offer any disclaimer of the difficulties he faced in painting her, yet to say nothing would prove quite possibly crude and most definitely disrespectful.

The judicious painter responded with a most gracious response which neither affirmed nor denied the Queen’s statement. It is easy to surmise that it was this characteristic grace that afforded him the King’s summons in the first place. “Madam,” he said, “I shall hope to have the honour…of showing my impression of your Majesty’s claims as a subject!!” {Shee, p. 305}

And so beautiful and majestic was she in his eyes, that there is merit to the claim that the King, who originally planned to present the portrait to the Goldsmiths’ Company, decided to keep it and commissioned Mr. Shee to paint another one like it for the Company {Shee, p. 92}.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. “1836 Queen Adelaide by Sir Martin Archer Shee (Royal Collection).” Grand Ladies Site. February 20, 2011. Accessed January 23, 2013. http://www.gogmsite.net/empire-napoleonic-and-roman/subalbum-queen-adelaide/1836-queen-adelaide-by-sir-.html.
2. Orr, Clarissa Campbell, ed. Queenship in Britain, 1660-1837: Royal Patronage, Court Culture and Dynastic Politics. ManchesterManchester University Press, 2002.
3. Roberts, Hugh. The Queen’s DiamondsLondon: Royal Collection Publications, 2012.
4. Shee, Martin Archer [Jr., sic] of the Middle TempleLife of Sir Martin Archer Shee, P.R.A., Volume the Second. London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1860.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Jewelry in Portraits: Queen Adelaide, 1836

Queen Adelaide, 1836
Painted by Sir Martin Shee
Image is in the Public Domain
Photo Source: Wikipedia

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Queen Adelaide stands in a portico of the hallowed halls of Windsor Castle. Blush pink roses peek in through the balustrade which, combined with the faint mountains in the distance, place the location of this sitting on an upper floor of the castle. It is May 1836, and Her Majesty is surrounded by close friends watching her 'sit' for a portrait.

She wears a red velvet gown with vee neck- and waistlines. The pleated bodice and train of her gown are lined in spotted ermine, and her lace cherusque frames her stately face. Upon her head she wears a black feathered hat with a jeweled brooch pinned to its central band. Her hair is coiffed in ringlets in the hurluberlu fashion of the day, and her tight ringlets hide any earrings she may be wearing.

A lovely necklace graces her neck, and at her waist shimmers a diamond stomacher fastened just above her white satin a-line underskirt. On both wrists she wears what appear to be matching pearl bracelets, and on her left fourth finger she wears a ring with a shiny gemstone. In her right hand she holds a white handkerchief, and on her feet she wears a pair of flat ballet-like slippers.

Painted by Martin Shee in 1836, this full-length portrait now hangs above the staircase in Buckingham Palace. Records from 1841 and 1891 report that a portrait of Queen Adelaide by Martin Shee hangs in the Grand Livery Room of Goldsmiths’ Hall {London Interiors, p. 228 and Wheatly, p. 124}. This is sound evidence for the existence of two full-length portraits of Queen Adelaide painted by Martin Shee in 1836.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. “1836 Queen Adelaide by Sir Martin Archer Shee (Royal Collection).” Grand Ladies Site. February 20, 2011. Accessed January 23, 2013. http://www.gogmsite.net/empire-napoleonic-and-roman/subalbum-queen-adelaide/1836-queen-adelaide-by-sir-.html.
2. Orr, Clarissa Campbell, ed. Queenship in Britain, 1660-1837: Royal Patronage, Court Culture and Dynastic Politics. ManchesterManchester University Press, 2002.
3. Roberts, Hugh. The Queen’s DiamondsLondon: Royal Collection Publications, 2012.
4. Shee, Martin Archer [Jr., sic] of the Middle TempleLife of Sir Martin Archer Shee, P.R.A., Volume the Second. London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1860. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Jewelry in Portraits: Sophia Charlotte's Wedding Jewels

Queen Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz
Published May 24, 1762
Mezzotinter: Thomas Frye (1710-1762)
Copy of 1762 portrait without hand or sleeve, with alterations in jewelry
Monogram in right corner: AP (?)
The Royal Collection © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

by Angela Magnotti Andrews
As mentioned previously, these jewels (and others) were given to Queen Charlotte by her husband, George III, on the day of their wedding. In addition to the beautiful pearls and diamonds seen in the original portrait, George gave her a necklace with a large diamond-studded cross pendant (seen in the above altered print) and two matching bracelets “consisting of six rows of picked pearls as large as a full pea” {Papendiek, p. 12}. The clasp of one of these bracelets featured George III’s portrait framed in diamonds, while the other clasp, also framed in diamonds, features the King’s cypher and a lock of his hair {Papendiek, p. 12}.

A portion of one of these bracelets is just visible in the lower quadrant of the original portrait. These jewels, plus the diamond stomacher she wears just out of sight, were purchased by the King from his brother, the Duke of Cumberland, for somewhere between 50,000 and 54,000 pounds.

The strand of pearls she wears draped beneath her diamond choker is one piece of the Hanoverian Crown Jewels, which King George inherited and gave to his wife on the day of their wedding. This strand of pearls consists of “six knee-length rows of pearls with twenty-five pearl drops, some as big as nutmegs” {Zahnle}.

Though Frye’s original portrait neither portrays all six rows nor all 25 pearl drops, it does represent well what are most certainly some of the most famous pearls in history. In the above portrait, most probably altered by the person who scraped “AR” in the lower right corner, her jewelry is altered to portray the full splendor of the Hanoverian pearls with the diamond cross pendant added as the central piece {Royal Collection}.

Upon her death in 1818, Queen Charlotte bequeathed the Hanoverian jewels she received from her husband to the House of Hanover, including the matchless string of pearls. As such, they passed down to Queen Victoria by way of Queen Adelaide and were much loved by both queens. Queen Victoria enjoyed them for two decades, and then reluctantly turned them over King George of Hanover at the end of a twenty-year dispute about their ownership. The remainder of Queen Charlotte’s jewels were sold at auction through Christie’s, and the money was divided between her four living daughters according to the stipulations of her will.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Fitzgerald, Percy Hetherington. The Good Queen CharlotteLondon: Downey & Co. Ld., 1890.
2. “Hanoverian Pearls, The.” The Sydney Morning Herald Coronation Supplement, Wednesday, May 12, 1937. Accessed January 22, 2013. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1301&dat=19370512&id=0OVaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=D5IDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2537,1932343.
3. Hedley, Olwen. Queen CharlotteMichigan: J. Murray, 1975.
4. Hill, Constance. Fanny Burney at the Court of Queen CharlotteToronto: Bell & Cockburn, 1913.
5. Laura Purcell Blog. “A Royal Wedding.” Published March 9, 2012. http://laurapurcell.com/?p=292.
6. North, Michael and David Ormrod. Markets for Art, 1400-1800SevillaSpain: Secretariado de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Sevilla, 1998.
7. O’Connell, Sheila. London 1753London: The British Museum Press, 2003.
8. Papendiek, Charlotte Louise Henrietta. Mrs. Papendiek’s Journals, Vol. 1London: Richard Bentley & Son, 1887.
9. Roberts, Hugh. The Queen’s Diamonds. London: Royal Collections Publications, 2012.
10. Royal Collection, The. “Thomas Frye (1710-1762), Queen Charlotte, 1762.” Accessed January 22, 2013. http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/eGallery/object.asp?maker=11720&object=604595&row=0&detail=about.
11. Strickland, Agnes and Elizabeth Strickland and Caroline G. Parker. Lives of the queens of England: From the Norman Conquest.
12. Urban, Sylvanus. “The Crown Jewels.” Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Review, Volume 204. January to June, 1858.
13. Zahnle, Lucy E. “Jewelry Through the Ages.” Helium, September 18, 2009. Accessed January 22, 2013. http://www.helium.com/items/1590026-jewelry-through-the-ages.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Jewelry in Portraits: Horace Walpole Describes Queen Sophia's Wedding Jewels

Queen Charlotte, circa 1762
Color print from original mezzotint
Artist: William Pether, after Thomas Frye
Photo Source: Walpole Antiques

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

With his drawing of Queen Charlotte in hand, Thomas Frye returned to his studio where he and his partner, William Pether, etched the lines of his drawing onto a copper plate. Using drypoint* they painstakingly scratched the fine, delicate lines into the plate. It is this meticulous technique which gives this portrait its depth and detail.

And it is this depth of detail, combined with the scant but clear historical record, which affords the best evidence for which jewels the Queen is wearing in the portrait. Though later colored prints made from Frye’s original copper plates cast some ambiguity as to the occasion for which Her Majesty is outfitted, the detailed account of Horace Walpole describing a warm day in September 1761 has led this historian to believe that Her Majesty is here pictured in her wedding gown, bedecked in at least a portion of the splendid jewels she received from her husband on that day of their wedding.

“The Queen was in white and silver; an endless mantle of violet-coloured velvet, lined with ermine, and attempted to be fastened on her shoulder by a bunch of large pearls, dragged itself and almost the rest of her clothes halfway down her waist. On her head was a beautiful little tiara of diamonds; a diamond necklace, and a stomacher of diamonds, worth threescore thousand pounds...” ~Horace Walpole

The jewels in Walpole’s description clearly match the jewels seen in Mr. Frye’s portrait, and upon close inspection of her gown, one could make a clear case for the mantle being the same violet-colored velvet she wore on her wedding day. Though clearly Mr. Frye made this print the year following the royal wedding, it is no great leap to presume that either Queen Charlotte wore her wedding finery to the theater that night, or more likely that Mr. Frye captured her face and form on paper from his place in the audience and then “dressed” her in her wedding clothes and jewels in his studio.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that he captured her image at her coronation, when she appeared wearing the same gown and jewels, and went to the theater only to ensure the finer details of her facial features. Since it is an unofficial portrait, we may never know for certain.

*Drypoint is "a technique in which the surface of the plate is scratched directly with an etching needle in order to produce fine, delicate lines" {Royal Collection}.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Fitzgerald, Percy Hetherington. The Good Queen CharlotteLondon: Downey & Co. Ld., 1890.
2. “Hanoverian Pearls, The.” The Sydney Morning Herald Coronation Supplement, Wednesday, May 12, 1937. Accessed January 22, 2013. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1301&dat=19370512&id=0OVaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=D5IDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2537,1932343.
3. Hedley, Olwen. Queen CharlotteMichigan: J. Murray, 1975.
4. Hill, Constance. Fanny Burney at the Court of Queen CharlotteToronto: Bell & Cockburn, 1913.
5. Laura Purcell Blog. “A Royal Wedding.” Published March 9, 2012. http://laurapurcell.com/?p=292.
6. North, Michael and David Ormrod. Markets for Art, 1400-1800SevillaSpain: Secretariado de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Sevilla, 1998.
7. O’Connell, Sheila. London 1753London: The British Museum Press, 2003.
8. Papendiek, Charlotte Louise Henrietta. Mrs. Papendiek’s Journals, Vol. 1London: Richard Bentley & Son, 1887.
9. Roberts, Hugh. The Queen’s Diamonds. London: Royal Collections Publications, 2012.
10. Royal Collection, The. “Thomas Frye (1710-1762), Queen Charlotte, 1762.” Accessed January 22, 2013. http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/eGallery/object.asp?maker=11720&object=604595&row=0&detail=about.
11. Strickland, Agnes and Elizabeth Strickland and Caroline G. Parker. Lives of the queens of England: From the Norman Conquest.
12. Urban, Sylvanus. “The Crown Jewels.” Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Review, Volume 204. January to June, 1858.
13. Zahnle, Lucy E. “Jewelry Through the Ages.” Helium, September 18, 2009. Accessed January 22, 2013. http://www.helium.com/items/1590026-jewelry-through-the-ages.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Jewelry in Portraits: Mezzotint of Queen Charlotte, 1762

Queen Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz, 1762
Mezzotint by Thomas Frye
The Royal Collection
©2012 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Queen Charlotte has a demure and lovely face. Playing across her lips is the faintest of smiles, and her eyes forecast the quiet and demure woman she will grow into as Queen of the Empire. Certainly she wears the jewels of an empirical queen. Upon her head rests an exquisite and dainty tiara outfitted entirely in diamonds. Attached to this dainty crown is an unassuming caplet extending into a veil which cascades neatly down her back.

Her left ear is heavy with an impressive chandelier earring composed entirely of diamonds in a three-drop style. To the right of her delicate cheek, one can just make out the matching earring dangling low behind her jaw. She wears a ribboned choker with a central band of diamonds encircling her neck with a two-tiered diamond pendant suspended from the center of the band. Draped across her d├ęcolletage are four generous rows of the most sublime pearls. From the lowest string hangs an irregular pearl that is almost perfectly pear-shaped.

She wears a richly ornamented gown which appears to be studded with diamonds and possibly pearls, and over it all she wears a velvet mantle, also richly embroidered and lined in spotted ermine with tufts of ribbon and pearls fastened to her shoulders. Honiton lace accents the entire ensemble, terminating at the sleeve of her right hand, which is devoid of jewelry except a bracelet of what looks like four rows of pearls.

A portion of the caption beneath this remarkably life-like mezzotint portrait of Queen Charlotte reads: ad vivum, “from the life” {Royal Collection}. Apparently, the persistent artist, one Thomas Frye of Ireland, was unable to secure a sitting with the queen, so he followed her to the theater in order to “observe her and hope to secure her likeness” {Royal Collection}.

The story goes that when she saw the artist sketching her in the audience, Her Majesty turned her face toward him to give him a better view {Royal Collection}. The results, as you can see, are stunning.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Fitzgerald, Percy Hetherington. The Good Queen CharlotteLondon: Downey & Co. Ld., 1890.
2. “Hanoverian Pearls, The.” The Sydney Morning Herald Coronation Supplement, Wednesday, May 12, 1937. Accessed January 22, 2013. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1301&dat=19370512&id=0OVaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=D5IDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2537,1932343.
3. Hedley, Olwen. Queen CharlotteMichigan: J. Murray, 1975.
4. Hill, Constance. Fanny Burney at the Court of Queen CharlotteToronto: Bell & Cockburn, 1913.
5. Laura Purcell Blog. “A Royal Wedding.” Published March 9, 2012. http://laurapurcell.com/?p=292.
6. North, Michael and David Ormrod. Markets for Art, 1400-1800SevillaSpain: Secretariado de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Sevilla, 1998.
7. O’Connell, Sheila. London 1753London: The British Museum Press, 2003.
8. Papendiek, Charlotte Louise Henrietta. Mrs. Papendiek’s Journals, Vol. 1London: Richard Bentley & Son, 1887.
9. Roberts, Hugh. The Queen’s Diamonds. London: Royal Collections Publications, 2012.
10. Royal Collection, The. “Thomas Frye (1710-1762), Queen Charlotte, 1762.” Accessed January 22, 2013. http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/eGallery/object.asp?maker=11720&object=604595&row=0&detail=about.
11. Strickland, Agnes and Elizabeth Strickland and Caroline G. Parker. Lives of the queens of England: From the Norman Conquest.
12. Urban, Sylvanus. “The Crown Jewels.” Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Review, Volume 204. January to June, 1858.
13. Zahnle, Lucy E. “Jewelry Through the Ages.” Helium, September 18, 2009. Accessed January 22, 2013. http://www.helium.com/items/1590026-jewelry-through-the-ages.

Vintage Celebrity Jewelry: Mary Pickford’s Sapphires (Part 3)

'Star of India' Sapphire
Photo taken by Daniel Torres, Jr. on January 14, 2007.
Photo Source: Wikipedia
by Angela Magnotti Andrews
It is at this very point of unraveling that the woman who had everything supposedly received one final, over-the-top gift from Mr. Fairbanks. On the verge of divorce, rumor has it that the silent film star, making one last attempt to atone for his infidelity, purchased what some refer to as “the most famous star sapphire in the world,” the ‘Star of India’.

Though several authoritative sources claim that Mary Pickford owned the ‘Star of India’, the historical record of the 563.35-carat star sapphire does not support this rumor. According to Mr. Douglas Preston, writing on behalf of the American Museum of Natural History, the Sri Lankan treasure was first brought to the States by gemstone expert, George Frederick Kunz sometime in the late 1800s.

Between 1890 and 1901, the wealthy banker, financier, and philanthropist, J.P. Morgan purchased all of Kunz’s treasures. Morgan promptly donated the “golfball-sized star sapphire” to New York’s American Museum of Natural History in 1890 {Preston, p. 210}. Unique even among star sapphires, if cut properly, the ‘Star of India’ demonstrates three cross-bars which create a six-pointed star beneath its surface. This, combined with its size and lineage, make it one of the most valuable gemstones in the world.

According to the Museum’s records, the unique and priceless gemstone, has been displayed in the museum’s Hall of Minerals and Gems for most of its American repose*.

While it is possible that Mr. Fairbanks purchased a blue sapphire for his wife while they were separated, it is clear that it was not the ‘Star of India’, as some suppose. It is also clear that his final gift was insufficient to mend the wounds he inflicted upon his marriage. In 1935, Hollywood’s favorite couple filed for divorce. Ms. Pickford is recorded to have bequeathed the ‘Star of Bombay’ to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and the stone was given to a Smithsonian representative in 1980. Accounts of her estate make no mention of the ‘Star of India’ sapphire.

Both gemstones remain on public display at their respective museums.

*I say most of its life, because there was a brief period when an infamous robbery placed it in the hands of celebrity jewel thief, ‘Murph the Surf’(Jack Murphy), on October 30, 1964. The jewels were recovered from a locker in the Miami bus terminal a few days after Murph and his cohort were picked up by the FBI {Doherty, p. 179-80}.


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BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Doherty, Phil. The Miami Police Worksheet. Xlibris, 2012.
2. Kunz, George Frederick. The Curious Lore of Precious Stones. Philadelphia & London: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1913.
3. Leavey, Peggy Dymond. Mary Pickford: Canada’s Silent Siren, America’s Sweetheart. Toronto: Dundurn, 2011.
4. Murphy, Elliott. “Murph the Surf.” Spin, July 1985, p. 50-51.
5. Preston, Douglas J. In the Attic: An Excursion into The American Museum of Natural History. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1986.
6. Price, Judith. Masterpieces of American Jewelry. New York: Running Press, 2004.
7. Schou, Solvej. “Mary Pickford: The Angelina Jolie of her day, but much more famous.” Inside Movies, September 4, 2012, http://insidemovies.ew.com/2012/09/04/mary-pickford-angelina-jolie-silent-film/.
8. Stone, Tammy. “The Silent Collection, Featuring: Mary Pickford.” Things and Other Stuff, accessed January 15, 2013. http://www.things-and-other-stuff.com/movies/profiles/mary-pickford.html.
9. TheDeadGuy. “Mary Pickford.” Everything2, January 17, 2002. http://everything2.com/title/Mary+Pickford.
10. Waterbury, Ruth, ed. Photoplay Magazine, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, June, 1920. Untitled Story, p. 73.
11. Whitfield, Eileen. Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2007.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Vintage Celebrity Jewelry: Mary Pickford’s Sapphires (Part 2)

'Star of Bombay' Sapphire
Copyright Smithsonian Institute
Photo Source: Pinterest
by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Despite the damage it might do to their reputations, they took a risk and divorced their spouses so they could get married in March of 1920. According to Photoplay Magazine (June, 1920), their fears of ruin were unfounded. It seems that everyone in Hollywood hoped that the two had “finally found lasting happiness”.

For the first eight years of their marriage, it seemed as though they truly had found happiness. Their lives were governed by romantic customs which included spending every night together, even when it was inconvenient. They always sat together at the dinner table, even when others had arranged for them to sit separately, and they always saved the last dance for each other, even when it meant turning down the future king.*

Given this great romance that bloomed between them, it will come as no surprise that the two lavished each other with gifts. As you can imagine, it would be no small feat to dazzle the likes of Miss Mary Pickford, who could buy whatever she wanted.

So, what did Mr. Fairbanks buy for the woman who had everything?

In 1920, he purchased the ‘Star of Bombay,’ a breathtaking blue star sapphire that was set into a platinum cocktail ring and sold to Mr. Fairbanks by Trabert & Hoeffer, a New York jewelry firm. The stunning 182-carat cabochon-cut star sapphire from Sri Lanka, India, quickly became a favorite in Ms. Pickford’s collection. The movie star kept it close even after the romance began to unravel.

*Eileen Whitfield, in her book Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood, tells of the time when Ms. Pickford declined a dance with George IV, saying that “it wouldn’t be ‘meet a man one minute and then next go into his arms and dance.’” She further commented that she had promised Douglas that she would save the last dance for him.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Kunz, George Frederick. The Curious Lore of Precious Stones. Philadelphia & London: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1913.
2. Leavey, Peggy Dymond. Mary Pickford: Canada’s Silent Siren, America’s Sweetheart. Toronto: Dundurn, 2011.
3. Preston, Douglas J. In the Attic: An Excursion into The American Museum of Natural History. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1986.
4. Price, Judith. Masterpieces of American Jewelry. New York: Running Press, 2004.
5. Schou, Solvej. “Mary Pickford: The Angelina Jolie of her day, but much more famous.” Inside Movies, September 4, 2012, http://insidemovies.ew.com/2012/09/04/mary-pickford-angelina-jolie-silent-film/.
6. Stone, Tammy. “The Silent Collection, Featuring: Mary Pickford.” Things and Other Stuff, accessed January 15, 2013. http://www.things-and-other-stuff.com/movies/profiles/mary-pickford.html.
7. TheDeadGuy. “Mary Pickford.” Everything2, January 17, 2002. http://everything2.com/title/Mary+Pickford.
8. Waterbury, Ruth, ed. Photoplay Magazine, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, June, 1920. Untitled Story, p. 73.
9. Whitfield, Eileen. Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2007.