Victorian Aesthetic Period Silver Locket
Large in proportions and delicate in ornamentation, this oval locket employs silver as the main metal with rose and yellow gold over silver for accents. The front is decorated with an engraved water scene depicting marsh plants, reeds and a variety of other flora framed with a rose gold oval border. A pair of circles with rose gold surrounds overlap. One features a pattern of squares – a mix of plain and ornamented; the other encloses a yellow gold butterfly fluttering about the foreground. The back is plain except for a series of English hallmarks (as is the bale). Both the front and back of hinged locket have defined scalloped perimeters. The interior reveals a compartment complete with rim and plastic cover.
Date: Circa 1880.
Historical Notes: For some art historians the Aesthetic Movement of 19th century England was the entryway into the concept of art for its own sake. Previously Victorian taste was heavily influenced by revivalist trends of the Greeks, Romans, Gothic and Renaissance forms. A reasonable question to ponder would be was the Aesthetic Movement merely a reactionary response to the over-saturation of ornamentation and archaeological elements in virtually all the aspects of the decorative arts?
Aside from the Modernist perspective, most designers reinterpreted previous forms and elements with one or two rare cases of innovation emerging. Albeit, the Aesthetic Period usurped principles of Japanese style, there was also a blurring of the differentiation between such aspects and that of the Chinese. Nonetheless, this movement gave way to what may be perceived as the loosening of the ultra-tight corset strings of Victorian life.
Measurements: 2-3/8 inches (6.0 cm) in length including bale by 1-3/8 inches (3.3 cm) in width. Weight of 20.7 grams (13.3 dwt).
Hallmarks: Full set of English hallmarks for sterling, Birmingham, date letter for 1880; partial maker's mark of ?WD.
Condition: Excellent; two tiny indentation points to reverse.
Note: All metals are acid tested.
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