An archaeological revival gold and enamel brooch/pendant, by Robert Phillips, circa 1865
Set to the centre with a raised scarab rendered in scarlet guilloché enamel with black enamel spot and stripe detail, between a pair of finely modelled rearing gold cobras with black enamel decoration, suspended from a detachable gold and black enamel coiled cobra suspensory loop, terminating with a later burnt sienna guilloché enamel amphora drop, glazed compartment to reverse, detachable brooch fitting, unsigned, some minor enamel losses, pendant length 6.4cm, width 3.4cm, fitted case by Phillips, 23 Cockspur St, London
In mid 19th century Britain, interest in Egyptian artefacts was considerable. The Thebes Jewels, discovered in 1859 by Auguste Mariette, were exhibited in London in 1863 and contemporary accounts in The Times describe the extraordinary array of jewels and record the public amazement at the spectacle. The exhibition coincided with a trip made by the Prince of Wales to Egypt which culminated in a tour up the Nile to Thebes. Upon his return to London the Prince commissioned a suite of jewellery from Robert Phillips replicating the scarab jewels he had seen at Thebes. The parure was a gift for his bride, Princess Alexandra of Denmark and on the marble bust sculpted by Mary Thornycroft to celebrate the marriage, she wears one of the brooches. The marble was much copied and became widely known. In response to this public awareness Robert Phillips marketed various versions of the Thebes suite for sale. The brooch pendant offered here is a fine example of one of these rare jewels.
"Guilloché is a decoration of concentric design engraved on metal, through the use of a lathe, resulting in an elaborate pattern. These elegant and usually quite intricate designs are often covered by translucent enamels which serves to highlight the pattern. Also referred to as engine-turned." Read more.