Queen Victoria was the ultimate dog lover. Her passion swept through all of Britain and beyond launching a full out sporting mania in the decorative arts. She appointed William Essex as royal enamellist. He also produced a number of fine miniature portraits, particular of dogs.
While we do not know if this enamel is signed (almost always on the reverse) it is certainly of the same quality as his or his protégé, William Bishop Ford. Another exceptional enamel-painter of the day was J.W. Bailey.
An extraordinary example of the enamellist’s art is this miniature head and shoulders portrait of a spaniel dog. Realized in brown, white, grey-green and black enamel, the piece is bezel set in a twisted braid surround of 15k yellow gold.
Clearly a beloved pet, expressive brown eyes capture the viewer’s gaze. Fine details realize a realistic image against a grey-green background, various shades of this were often chosen for these charming pieces of art.
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