A feature of our forthcoming Decorative Arts: Deisgn since 1860 auction on 11 April is a wonderful selection of Art Nouveau jewellery from across Europe. Discover just a few of these highlights lots below.
The Art Nouveau period was brief but transformational - appearing around 1890, as a reaction against the industrial dominance of 19th century, and lasting until 1910. A total art style, embracing both fine and decorative arts: including architecture, painting, graphic art, interior design, furniture, textiles, ceramics, glass art, metal work and, of course, jewellery.
Nature, and its associations of femininity and fertility, was a the dominant theme of the Art Nouveau. Flowing lines and curves defined the style, with nymph-like maidens, botantical themes, peacocks, insects and butterflies recurring motifs.
Art Nouveau jewellers chose to work with non- and semi-precious materials, focussing was on the originality of design and craftsmanship over the material value of the components. Moulded glass, enamel and semi-precious stones were framed by delicate silver and goldwork.
Erik Magnussen (Danish 1884-1960)
Mainly self-taught, Erik Magnussen originated from Denmark, where he developed his characteristic techniques and designs using naturalistic motifs. Beginning his career at his uncle's gallery 'Winkel and Magnussen', he was influenced by H.C. Viggo-Hansen where he developed his chasing skills, and from the sculptor Stephan Sinding. One of his first major successes was the sale of his 'Grasshopper' brooch to the Museum of Decorative Art in 1907, and the current lot is thought to be from this period.
[§] ERIK MAGNUSSEN (1884-1960)
AN OPAL AND SAPPHIRE SET PENDANT, CIRCA 1918
modelled as a stylised butterfly, the body set with an opal and two sapphire cabochon eyes, to an integral fancy link chain and toggle clasp, stamped EM/ 750/ 1918 to reverse
Length of pendant: 50mm
£3,000-4,000 + fees
This pendant in its form and execution demonstrates awareness of the symbolist jewellery being produced in Glasgow at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century, especially by Francis and Margaret Macdonald. The known work of the sisters is mainly figurative rather than in this example which shows opposed birds, a motif more commonly associated with artists such as Talwin Morris.
WHITE METAL AND ENAMELLED PENDANT, CIRCA 1900
of slender tapering form chased with a design of opposed peacocks perched on a stylised tree with green enamel panels and set with turquoise cabochon stones,
with corresponding heart-shaped pendant drops. 11cm long, with drop 17cm long
£2,000-3,000 + fees
Jessie Marion King (1875-1949) & Archibald Knox (1864-1933) for Liberty & Co
Established in 1875, Liberty's department store in London built its reputation on supplying artistic and unusual products. In 1899 it launched a line of 'Cymric' jewellery, which drew both the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts styles.
The success of the Cymric line was in no doubt due to the innovation and talent of the designers employed by Liberty, including Jessie M. King and Archibald Knox, who designed these buckles.
JESSIE MARION KING (1875-1949) FOR LIBERTY & CO., LONDON
SILVER AND ENAMEL BELT BUCKLE, DATED 1906
of oval outline, formed of two sections, each pierced with a design of flying swallows and enamelled flowers, hallmarked Birmingham 1906
£1,000-1,500 + fees
ARCHIBALD KNOX (1864-1933) FOR LIBERTY & CO., LONDON
'CYMRIC' SILVER AND ENAMEL BUCKLE, 1901
formed of two sections, cast in the form of Celtic enterlacs flanking two panels with blue and green enamelling,
stamped maker's marks L&Co/ CYMRIC, hallmarked Birmingham 1901
£1,500-2,000 + fees
Charles Robert Ashbee (1863-1942)
CHARLES ROBERT ASHBEE (1863-1942) FOR THE GUILD OF HANDICRAFT
SILVER, GOLD, MOTHER-OF-PEARL AND CHRYSOPRASE SET PENDANT, CIRCA 1900
the central mother-of-pearl panel within a scrolling wirework surround, set with three circular chrysoprase cabochons
£3,000-5,000 + fees
Exhibited: 'The Arts & Crafts Movement in Europe and America 1880-1920: Design for the Modern World', Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, and Cleveland Museum of Art, 2004-2006.
Dates for your Diary
Auction | Decorative Arts; Design since 1860 | 11 April 2018 | 11am
33 Broughton Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3RR
Viewing | Tues 10 April 10am to 5pm, Day of Sale from 9am