Henry Wilson Arts & Crafts Enamel & Gold Pendant
Jewelers have often looked to the past for inspiration with the styles and motifs reflected in the so-named revival jewelry. Knowing few bounds, ideas and concepts were drawn from cultures as diverse as the Etruscans and Romans as well as influences from the Gothic and Renaissance eras. A few of these innovative designers have been visionary in their interpretation of historical motifs. Henry Wilson can be added to that elite circle.
From around 1895 England-based Wilson did not limit himself to jewelry. He was trained as an architect and proficient in designing silverwork, sculpture and even church plate and furnishings. Contemporaneous with such Arts and Crafts notables as Charles R. Ashbee and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Wilson was appointed Master of the Art Worker’s Guild in 1917 and President of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society fro 1915 to 1922. In addition, he was the first editor of the notable Architectural Review from 1896 to 1901. A little known fact about Wilson is that although the concept “Art Deco” was not used until 1925, he originated the term when he was cataloguing the works of the Great Paris Exhibition and wanted to differentiate between Art Nouveau and Modernism.
Here his characteristic use of rich color combinations of polychromatic enameling with an ovoid or egg-shaped stone centered within the piece brings us to a medieval / Renaissance influenced pendant. Of 18k yellow gold and in a modified Holbeinesque manner, an oval prasiolite (also referred to as vermarine and green quartz) cabochon is framed with a gold bezel and set against a green, white and red surround of champlevé enamel incorporating modified chevron and floral elements.
Rendered in a girandole form, gold trefoils centered with a red enamel dot suspend white enamel batons capped with green and white enameled gold finials terminate in an ovoid prasiolite gold set drop. Lovely articulation and symmetry of form add an extra dimension to an already harmonious pendant.
Date: Circa 1900
Measurements: 2 inches (5 cm) in length including bale by 11/16 of an inch (1.7 cm) in width. Weight of 4.4 grams (2.8 dwt).
Condition: Excellent; minute amount of wear to enamel; a few tiny abrasions to the stones.
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