Collection: The Regency Wardrobe
Item: Jewellery box
Materials: quilling paper strips, card, wood veneer effect printed paper, FSC accredited paper tablecloth, embroidery thread, lacquer, watercolour ink
This piece is inspired by the Melbourne Cabinets, created by Thomas Chippendale in 1772-73 for the 1st Viscount Melbourne (1745-1828). The cabinets were inherited by Imogen Grenfell, who married Henry, 6th Viscount Gage in 1931, they were moved to Firle Place in 1952. The outer colours of this piece are inspired by the shades of brown of the Melbourne cabinets as we see them today. Inside however the use of bright colour reflects the way in which they would originally have been seen. In 2019 an article in the Burlington Magazine detailed how the Melbourne cabinets are unusually veneered in holly. They would have appeared white in the 18th century, and have darkened over time to the honey colour they are now. The other shades of brown would once have been red, blue and green.
The shape of this piece is the result of a study of Regency era and Victorian jewellery boxes and medicine chests. The image painted inside is a copy of a painting of the 1827 fete and tilting quintain at Firle Place, by an anonymous artist which hangs in the blue corridor. Henry the 4th Viscount Gage married Lady Elizabeth Maria Gage (1793-1857) in 1813. Their son Henry (1814-1875) had a passion for chivalry, a fashionable Regency interest. He participated in the Eglinton Tournament held at Eglinton Castle in Ayrshire in 1839 as ‘The Knight of the Ram’. The Gage ram crest has been added in the bottom right hand inside corner of the right door of Bejewelled.
The necklace and earring set are inspired by those of emerald and pearl that the Empress Joséphine is wearing as part of her coronation costume in a painting by Baron Françoise Gérard.
Bejewelled is beautifully presented in an acrylic display case: H 31cms, L 47cms, W 46cms. It has been laid upon black velvet board beneath with small pieces of clear acrylic rod keeping one door and its lid open.