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Explore the fascinating Christmas traditions of royalty past and present

William Essex (1784-1869)

Brooch of Victoria, Princess Royal 1842

Enamel, gold, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, topazes | 3.5 x 6.8 x 1.2 cm (whole object) | RCIN 4834

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Mounted in gold, the cut out enamel miniature of the Princess Royal clasping a string of pearls from which hangs a real diamond and ruby crucifix. She has bejewelled wings mounted at the shoulders.

Queen Victoria's first child, also named Victoria, was the subject of numerous art commissions including this enamel, gold and jewelled brooch. Inspired by a cherub in a painting by Raphael, Prince Albert designed the piece himself as a Christmas present for the Queen. 'The workmanship & design are quite exquisite,' she declared, '& dear Albert was so pleased at my delight over it, its having been entirely his own idea and taste'. This portrait of Princess Victoria was copied from a circular miniature by Sir William Ross (RCIN 420283), showing the Princess against a cloudy sky, and was copied numerous times.

Text from Victoria & Albert: Art & Love.