The Victorians believed that no house was a home without a dog or cat in residence and their jewelry was often designed to include an image of a cherished pet.
Here we have a classic example of a miniature enamel from the 1880s. Small but exacting and nearly photographic in its rendering, it is hand painted in enamel in the motif of a large dog's head facing left.
Three well known enamelists of the Victorian period were William Bishop Ford, J.W. Bailey, and William Essex. Ford in fact studied under Essex. Queen Victoria, dog and animal lover extraordinaire, commissioned them numerous times for portraits of her four legged retinue.
While this enamel isn't signed on the back, it is of the quality of any of these three. Some were never signed, many were.
Against a backdrop the color of dusty olive green, the palette here utilizes tawny light tans shading to smoky blacks along with a golden yellow and brown eye. Even for its modest size, it looks as if this canine could come to life and leap out of his silver bezel.
Note: The background is more olive khaki brown in tone then our photos show and the dog more fawn in coloration. Also, our owner has a collection of similar dog enamel stickpins and jewelry, both signed and unsigned from the above mentioned artists and others. It is finally time to allow some to be appreciated and cherished by our clients.