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Portrait Brooch

Maker:  Unknown, American? 
Date: ca. 1866-1870
Material:  14 Karat yellow gold
Size:  36 millimeters by 54 millimeters
Provenance:  Adelicia to her daughter Pauline Acklen Lockett to her niece Pauline Acklen Landis to her daughter Pauline Landis Grizzard to her daughter Linda Grizzard Tiffany by gift to Belmont Mansion Association.
2014.23.02 by gift from Linda Grizzard Tiffany

While the pin is unstamped, it is believed to be 14 karat yellow gold. The obvers is decorated with black enamel.  At the base of the pin is a gloved hand holding an articulated fan with five blades and a flower motif. The fan folds and unfolds to reveal a well done portrait of Adelicia Acklen done in watercolor on paper by an unknown artist.  The clasp is replaced. 

The broach is quite unusual with it decorative fan and outstretched hand surrounding a painted portrait of Adelicia. It was most likely a piece worn by Pauline. It is hard to know whether the hand and fan have symbolic meaning or are merely decorative. However, the hand could be interpreted as symbolizing the presence of love or peace.[1] Since most miniatures were in lockets and therefore protected, the fan may have been a design of function. The opening and closing of the fan is particularly novel and actually serves to shield the watercolor portrait from light and other elements which might have disturbed the delicate nature of the portrait.


Sherry Male
Grace M. Allen

[1] Deirdre O’Day, Victorian Jewelry rev. ed. (London: Charles Letts Books Limited, 1982): 25.

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