Author(s): Diana Scarisbrick
From the Renaisssance to the end of the Belle Epoque, cameo, intaglio and miniature portraits, prized as representations of eminent people or treasured as images of the beloved, have been enriched by jewelled frames in order to wear them or display them as precious objects. Yet while cameo and intaglio portraits have been extensively surveyed, their settings do not seem to have attracted the same attention until now. Here, Diana Scarisbrick draws upon her knowledge of jewelry, painting, history and literature to set the portrait jewels in the context of people's lives, bringing to life five centuries of extraordinary events and personalities, and at the same time illustrating an aspect of the history of jewelry never explored to this degree. "Portrait Jewels" spans over five centuries, beginning with the Medicia and ending just before the fall of the Romanovs in 1917, and features prominent characters from politics, religion, history, literature and the arts, such as Queen Elizabeth I, Popes Clement XII and Pius VII, Voltaire and Lord Byron.