Froment-Meurice enamel chatelaine pendant,French, circa 1850.
Gold, silver and enamel chatelaine pendant set with pearls and lapis by Froment-Meurice, French, circa 1850. 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.
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