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Order of the Golden Fleece; Badge of Prince Albert. Might have belonged to George IV. c.1820

RCIN 441169

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The Order of the Golden Fleece was founded by Philip III, Duke of Burgundy, on the occasion of his marriage to the Portuguese Infanta Isabella in 1430. The main aims of the Order were to promote the glory of God and to defend the Christian faith. The Golden Fleece is usually associated with the mythological Greek hero Jason, who had to retrieve the fleece of a golden-haired winged ram with the help of the Argonauts in order to regain his throne. This pagan association was slightly controversial for a Christian order, therefore the Golden Fleece was also associated with the fleece of Gideon that received the dew of Heaven (Judges 6:36–40). The Order’s badge takes the form of a sheepskin suspended from the Duke of Burgundy’s impresa (emblem), which depicts flint and steel issuing sparks of fire. In this example the flint and steel are represented by a sapphire and the sparks by the rubies.

Catalogue entry from "Gold", London, 2014.