Tuesday - 02 September 2014

Second Burges brooch makes appearance

14 June 2012Written by Roland Arkell

Antiques Roadshow and Midlands auction house Gildings have conspired again to find a second William Burges brooch.

The new discovery has been acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum.

To recap, it was back in March 2011 that Geoffrey Munn, jewellery expert and managing director at Wartski, chose a slot on the Antiques Roadshow to highlight a series of watercolour brooch designs by William Burges (1827-71). Telling viewers he had been searching for a Burges brooch for more than 20 years, Leicestershire retiree Jill Cousins knew she had one upstairs in her jewellery box.

She contacted her local saleroom, Gildings of Market Harborough, who were quick to confirm its links to the most celebrated of the Victorian art-architects. After appearing on another episode of the Roadshow filmed in Birmingham when Mr Munn was made aware of the discovery, it was sold at Gildings on August 2 for £31,000 to a private collector.

It seems lightning has struck twice. A Christmas edition of the Roadshow featuring the full story of the brooch has unearthed another identical example. The owner again contacted Gildings, who this time were able to negotiate a private treaty sale with the V&A, who hold the original watercolour designs.

Both of the 1¾in (4.4cm) white and gilt metal brooches set with a heart-shaped garnet and turquoises fashioned as forget-me-nots are engraved with the gothic initials JPMS. Coupled with the knowledge that the watercolour sketch is inscribed Seddon, it is probable they were made to mark the wedding of the architect John Pollard to Margaret Seddon in 1864.

John Pollard Seddon (1827-1906), who moved in the circle of the Pre-Raphaelites, was the business partner of John Prichard of Llandaff, a friend of Burges, and the discovery of a second brooch adds weight to the theory that these were made as gifts for bridesmaids or other members of the wedding party.

It is hoped it will go on display later this year.

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Written by

Roland Arkell

Tags

Gildings

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