2018-09-18-2019-03-21 --- 2019-03-21 20:47:27--18
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LOT :116
Estimate EUR : €1,800.00 - €2,800.00
Auction Date : 18-09-2018



Set throughout with old cushion and rose-cut diamonds, the central flowerhead mounted en tremblant, mounted in silver and gold, diamonds approximately 2.50cts total, length 9.7cm


In the early nineteenth century, botany was becoming hugely fashionable as a field of study with new species from all over the world being brought back to England by explorers and military travellers. Regarded as an acceptable hobby for young ladies, general knowledge of horticulture was widespread among the upper classes. Pupils of the subject were artistically trained and were expected to reproduce studies of flora to a high standard. This knowledge also poured across into literature and poetry of the period, William Wordsworths Host of Golden Daffodils being one of the most well-known references to the subject.


It stands to reason that the jewellers and smiths of the period could not help but be influenced and inspired by this national obsession with the natural world. At a moment when techniques in gem cutting and mounting had been honed to such a fine art in a comparatively short space of time, there could be no better occasion to create an object of such beauty that it rivalled the living thing. (Fresh flowers were also favoured as an accessory or corsage in the costume of the period.)


Catalogues suggest that floral bouquets were first used as patterns in English jewellery design as early as the mid-1770s. By the 1830s and 40s, they had become sparkling works of art. However, the English may not necessarily have been the first to be inspired by the natural world. Giardinetti (little garden) brooches and rings had been made in Italy almost a century earlier. Without doubt, those earlier examples could not compare to the sheer prowess of engineering ingenuity seen in these large bouquets en tremblant of the early nineteenth century.


The origins of the en tremblant mechanism is generally attributed to the ateliers of Paris. In this competitive era of Great Exhibitions, many jewellers would have travelled back and forth between London and Paris (amongst other cities), both exhibiting their wares and studying and being influenced by the trends of their foreign counterparts. It is certainly clear that there was a blurring of influences in foliate designs and techniques. En tremblant literally means trembling. The feature, as can be seen with each of these exquisite lots, was used to highlight individual elements of the bouquet a single flower head seeming to quiver and shake in the breeze. The method, though delicate, was simple. Each piece would be mounted or fixed via a series of wire or gold coiled springs leaving it in constant gentle motion. The French took this a step further and added trembling butterflies and dragonflies alighting on leaves another trend quickly absorbed into English fashion. Generally designed for wear in the hair (on combs), below the décolletage or around the bust (on brooches or corsage pins), the intention was to maximise the volume of light captured and deflected in glittering sparkles, the constant fluttering eye catching to say the least.


Unsurprisingly, this style caught the eye of Empress Eugénie of France, wife of Napoleon III. In 1855 she commissioned a large diamond flower corsage from Parisian jeweller, Théodore Fester. According to the official catalogue from the auction of French crown jewels in 1887, The flowers: anemone, rose, carnation etc, are modelled from nature. This ornament divides into seven different sprigs, each complete in design, and the complicated flowers, by mechanical contrivances, separate for the purpose of effectual cleaning. It contains nearly 6,000 diamonds, the largest of which weighs upwards of 10 carats. (Gere, C. and Rudoe, J. 2010, Jewellery in the Age of Queen Victoria, A Mirror to the World, The British Museum Press, London, p.171)


One hundred years later, in the 1950s and 60s, Italian jeweller Bulgari produced a series of magnificent hairclips and brooches inspired by the en tremblant designs of the nineteenth century. Hollywood icons were enthralled by the dazzling line and patrons included Ingrid Bergman, Princess Soraya of Iran and Elizabeth Taylor, whose then-husband Eddie Fisher gifted her one such brooch on the occasion of her 30th birthday. The brooch was sold at Christies New York in 2011 for USD 1,142,500 (c. 985,000).


Hammer Price : €1,900.00
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1. Estimates and Reserves

Estimates are shown below each lot in this sale. All amounts shown are in Euro. The figures shown are provided merely as a guide to prospective purchasers. They are approximate prices which are expected, are not definitive and are subject to revision. Reserves, if any, will not be any higher than the lower estimate.

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The buyer shall pay the Auctioneer a commission at the rate of 20% on the Hammer Price plus VAT @ 23% (applied only to the commission) on all individual lots.

For example on a hammer price of €1,000, the Buyer's Premium amounts to €200 and the VAT on the Buyer's Premium amounts to €46.00, giving a total amount due of €1,246


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6. Condition Reports

The property is sold "as is" therefore imperfections/defects are not stated in the catalogue description. It is up to the intending purchaser to satisfy themselves as to the condition of a lot(s) before bidding. Condition reports may be requested in advance of sale subject to our terms of business. The report is an expression of opinion only and must not be treated as a statement of fact.

7. Conditions of Sale

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