FROMENT-MEURICE Gold Silver and Enamel Chatelaine Pendant

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A gold and silver pendant in the Renaissance Revival style, the main element composed of a symmetrical openwork architectural structure with central niche the interior with an upright scallop shell, flanked by two smaller raised pedestals and with a fleur-de-lis extending from the sides and bottom, all in gold and accented with dark blue enamel, the roof of the central niche with a cupola set with a pearl and with two additional pearl s at the outer corners, the central niche also set with a silver female figure playing a viola da gamba and with two silver putti dancing at either side of her feet, and with a silver putto in each pedestal one playing a harp and one playing a triangle, and with a double swagged gold chain suspended from the bottommost three points of the main body set with six spherical pearls at the intersections, all flanked by two chains suspending on one side a circular lapis lazuli seal in a trumpet form mount and on the other a watch winder, both decorated with blue enamel, all mounted with eleven pearls in total, the reverse mounted with a hinged band loop.

François Désiré Froment-Meurice (1802-1855) was one of the most important French jewellery and silversmiths of the nineteenth century, described by Victor Hugo as the Cellini of his age. He exhibited in a number of International Exhibitions, where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were among his clients. The Renaissance Revival, as seen here, and the Gothic Revival were his two major decorative styles. This piece is also typical of his penchant for placing a silver figure, usually female, within a yellow gold architectural mount. The central figure and flanking putti are identical to those found on two brooches by Froment-Meurice, one in the Birmingham Museum and one in the Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim. Another brooch by Froment-Meurice, in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, features the central figure, but this time as an angel with wings, in a silver oval blue enamelled frame. These examples also bear a similar gold and blue enamel architectural mount, and differ only in the surrounding and pendulant embellishments.

Saint Cecelia is the patroness of music, whose feast day is celebrated each November. A Roman maiden, she was amongst the earliest and most famous of the Roman martyrs, reputedly beheaded in 230 AD under the Emperor Alexander Severus. Throughout history, Saint Cecelia has inspired musicians and poets alike, appearing in John Dryden’s 'A Song for St Cecilia’s Day', 1687, and Handel’s 'An Ode for St Cecilia’s Day', 1739. In Christian iconography and religious art, she is most often portrayed playing a viola or harpsichord.

A drawing of this design is included in Henri Vever’s ‘French Jewellery of the Nineteenth Century’, London, 2001, page 234.
Of the Period
Place of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Circa 1850
Late 19th Century
Lapis Lazuli
Natural Pearl
Dealer Location
London, United Kingdom
Number of Items
Reference Number
88-90 Hatton Garden
London EC1N 8PN
+44 1228830349
1stdibs Dealer since 2011 Located in London, GB
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