Mary Queen of Scots Cameo by Unknown Artist

This heart-shaped gold locket is suspended from three short gold chains.

Details

Medium:
Gold, onyx, enamel, diamonds, ruby
Dimensions:
2.2 x 5.1 cm
Art Fund grant:
£300 ( Total: £3,571)
Acquired in:
1959
Vendor:
Phillips de Pury

In the centre is an onyx cameo cut with a bust of Queen Mary in profile. The cameo is of French or Italian origin but the outer case of the heart-shaped pendant is a late 16th century Scottish locket. Made of gold with cloisonné enamel, it is elaborately ornamented with flowers and leaves in delicate greens, blue and white and set with small diamonds and a native cut ruby. Though the history of the jewel is unknown, evidence exists that sixteenth century monarchs often presented mounted cameos of themselves as rewards or marks of favour. Given its elaborate nature, the unknown recipient of the cameo jewel must have performed a deed of considerable importance.

Provenance

Probably given by Queen Mary in return for a service of importance.

Venue details

National Museum of Scotland Chambers Street, EDINBURGH Edinburgh EH1 1JF 0300 123 6789 www.nms.ac.uk

Entry details

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