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Decoding the Jewels (Paperback)

Renaissance Jewellery in Scotland

Hobbies & Lifestyle > Art > Decorative Arts & Crafts Hobbies & Lifestyle > Art > Renaissance Art

Imprint: Sidestone Press
Pages: 200
Illustrations: 104fc / 3bw
ISBN: 9789464262575
Published: 15th May 2024
Casemate UK Academic

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For the first time, National Museums Scotland’s important collection of Renaissance jewellery from Scotland is considered together in this fully illustrated volume alongside significant items from the Royal Collection. The book was inspired by the acquisition by NMS of the extraordinary Fettercairn Jewel: the fine iconography of this exquisitely enamelled locket held coded messages for its sixteenth century owners, and continues to intrigue its viewers today. Renaissance jewellery like this in Scotland is particularly notable given the rare survival of such jewels from the sixteenth century. Some of these owe their survival thanks to their association with Mary, Queen of Scots.

Elite Renaissance men and women commissioned, wore and gifted intricate and valuable pieces of jewellery. For most, this was not simply adornment, but used to communicate messages and display status. These were intimate personal possessions and suggest the meanings invested in them by their owners, that resonate with audiences today. Such jewels are evocative objects.

This lavishly illustrated book brings together expert voices from the key Scottish collections (National Museums Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, Royal Collection Trust) to explore the making, meaning and function of such jewellery in sixteenth century Scotland, and features an interpretation of the Fettercairn Jewel by the jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn. It reveals hitherto underappreciated evidence of goldsmithing in Scotland while considering significant continental influences in the design and production of jewellery. Given the ephemeral nature, and rare survival of Renaissance jewellery, its authors also suggest alternative ways of tracing the gems that have gone, in the portraits and inventories of Scottish men and women.

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