|Commesso Brooch of Gold, Shell, Diamonds, and Emeralds|
Felix Dafrique, 1840-1851
Shown at the Great Exhibition
The Victoria & Albert Museum
This brooch is set with a commesso (a type of cameo further decorated with enameled gold and jewels) portrait in shell of the young Queen Victoria. The shell cameo is embellished with enameled gold, diamonds and emeralds. Meanwhile, the gold frame is decorated with enameled roses of Lancaster and York.
The design of the cameo is based—in reverse--on a portrait of Her Majesty in Garter Robes which was painted by Thomas Sully in 1838. The creator of the piece, the French jeweler Félix Dafrique. showed this brooch at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London where it received a Prize Medal for its “polychromic cameo.” The reverse of the shell is signed: “Paul Lebas / Graveur / 1851 / Paris,” The gold mounts are struck with the maker's mark of Felix Dafrique and a French export mark in use from 1840 onwards.