4 February 2012

E letter love locket-brooch from th Metropolitan Museum

As the February is considered to be the month of love - today I got a medieval lover gift.

It is a brooch but it is also a locket - it has a hinge and after turning a small lock, it opens and shows the inscription: 

 which means
"Fair lady, may I always remain close to your heart."
Those words are safely kept from the sight of others and only a wearer knows about them.
Inside the brooch there is some space which might be used for storing some kind of a small gift, a reminder of the adorer, like a piece of hair - secular love relict.
All that features together creates a very intimate piece of jewellery and something far more precious than gold and all pearls it is made of.

The copy of the brooch unlocked and in two parts, before fixing the hinge rivet.

 The cover of the brooch has a shape of letter E and in its centre bears the figure of a man holding arrows aimed at his heart. The small holes seen on the top are the places where six small pearls will be set (there is still one remaining at the original brooch)

It was probably originally manufactured in second half of the 14th century in Southern Germany (the inscription is giving some hints as it seems to be written in a Saxon dialect).

The original brooch from the Metropolitan Museum- closed
Material: silver, gold plated
Dimensions: 32mm x 22mm x 38mm
Dating: late 14th century.

The original brooch from the Metropolitan Museum - open.
A few more photos of the making process so far.
I started with preparing the wax models. The corpus of the letter was cut and carved hollow inside and the figure of the man was made with a wax build-up technique.

Wax models

After casting, all elements were assembled together. The figure was riveted on place, the hole for a closing lock was cut in the back panel and the closing "hook" with a silver bead was set. The pin was installed inside.

Putting on this brooch is probably not the most convenient, but after it is made you can be sure it is safe and quite difficult to lose.

 How to wear it? First, the lock have to be open, than the piece of cloth has to be pulled thru the hole in a back panel and punched thru with a pin. After straightening the cloth brooch is on and you need only to close it again to keep the inscriptions hidden.
Here are photos of the brooch just before the engravings were made were you can see how it is constructed.

Closed brooch without pearls.



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