Antique Victorian Three Graces Cameo Brooch
During the sentimental Victorian era cameo jewellery became extremely popular following on from the lead of Queen Victoria. The most popular subject was the female form both head and shoulders and full figure as is shown here. The three female figures shown in this wonderful shell carving is known as The Three Graces, and is based on a motif from ancient Greek literature. The Three Graces depicts the three daughters of the God Zeus and was looked upon as a gift to humanity. Euphrosyn stood for mirth, Aglaia for elegance, and Thalia for youth and beauty. In 1815 the sculpture Canova was commissioned by Josephine the divorced wife of Napoleon to sculpt the three figures and the sculpture was much admired.(See sculpture below) It was from then on that jewellery makers emulated the three figures in their carvings right through the Victorian era. This lovely example is substantial in size at 5.5cms x 4cms. The metal frame is not hallmarked so likely to be gold filled. There is a firm C shaped clasp and pin to the back. The pin may have at some time been replaced. Works well. Some wear shown to the inside of the frame on the back, but nothing that detracts from the front, and commensurate with its age.