The Canning Jewel
I love to write to you about fabulous historical pearl jewelry. As you can see with this brooch, the artist has made superb use of a Baroque pearl to resemble the torso of this dramatic Merman or Triton. There is intricate enamel work and masterful setting of table cut diamonds and rubies.
This brooch is an exquisite example of European Revival Renaissance jewelry of the 19c. and most likely by an Italian artist. There is some thought that it was the art of Benvenuto Cellini, although there is not actual documentation. It was certainly of that period.
The history is that this was a gift from a House of Medici Prince, in Florence to a Moghul Emperor of India.
It is said to have been found in the Treasury of the King of Oudh when Delhi was captured in the Indian Mutiny and having been appropriated by the Indian Government was bought from them by Earl Canning K.G. (1812-62), first Viceroy of India. Hence the name Canning Jewel. Now, this lovely resides in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.