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Henry Pierce Bone (1779-1855)

Bracelet with a miniature of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) 1839

Enamel; gold, diamonds, rubies. Miniature: watercolour on ivory | 5 x 4 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 10915

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Miniature of Queen Victoria, head and shoulders, looking upwards, part of the Dalmatic robe just visible at the lower edge; braided hair; set in an elaborate gold bracelet, probably made by Rundell, Bridge & Co., the strap engraved with arabesques, the serpentine mount set with diamonds and rubies, the reverse engraved with Queen Victoria's monogram and the date July 25, 1839. The likeness is copied from George Hayter's coronation portrait but without the Imperial State Crown.

The Queen commissioned several bracelets set with this portrait, from both Henry Bone and William Essex, as gifts for her relatives and most valued friends. There are numerous references in the Queen's Journal to such presents: 'I gave the Duchess of Sutherland my picture (an enamel after Hayter) in a bracelet, which pleased her very much' (1 May 1838); for Christmas 1838 she gave her mother 'an enamel after Hayter's picture of me (without the crown) in a bracelet, with which she was quite enchanted' (24 December 1838), and for the confirmation of Princess Augusta of Cambridge Queen Victoria gave her a 'bracelet with my picture (just like the one I gave Mamma at Christmas)' (23 March 1839).

The setting was used in several items of jewellery - rubies for passion, diamonds for eternity in the form of a serpent, for wisdom - and was probably made by Rundell, Bridge & Rundell. Henry Pierce Bone was the eldest son of Henry Bone (1766-1834), Enamel Painter to George IV. Taught by his father, he enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools in 1796. He was appointed Enamel Painter to William IV in 1834, to the Duchess of Kent and Princess Victoria in 1833, and to Prince Albert in 1841.

Text adapted from Victoria & Albert: Art & Love, London, 2010 and the catalogue entry from Gold, London, 2014.