This brooch is a wonderful example of people's fascination with collecting and displaying the wonders of the natural world that was very popular during the Art Deco period, circa the 1920/30s coupled with an amazing portrait of Saint Fabiola.
Very small writing on the front of the brooch says "After Jean Jacques Henner".
The image is a copy of his lost work Saint Fabiola. Saint Fabiola is the patron of: divorced people, difficult marriages, victims of abuse; adultery; unfaithfulness, widows; and the Hospice Movement.
Since 1994, Francis Alÿs has been collecting copies of Jean-Jacques Henner's painting of Saint Fabiola, a fourth-century patrician Roman woman who, despite divorce and remarriage, later did such fervent penance that she was welcomed back to the faith and, after her death, sainted. For years she fell into oblivion, but in the nineteenth century returned to popularity as the protagonist of a novel named after her.
Alÿs acquired his Fabiola portraits, mostly the work of amateurs and in a variety of media, from thrift shops, flea markets and antiques stores primarily in Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Holland, and Germany. All the works have been left in their original state. The artists, dates and places of origin are largely unknown.
Fabiola is always depicted in profile with her head covered in a rich red veil. Alÿs plans a special location for each exhibition, devising a new constellation for the portraits.
In 1997, 60 of his Fabiolas were exhibited at London's Whitechapel Art Gallery. The collection, grown to include 514 copies of the portrait, is on exhibit at the Byzantine Fresco Chapel of the Menil Collection in Houston from May 21, 2016 to May 13, 2018.
Original patent number stamped on reverse along with MADE IN ENGLAND and STERLING SILVER.
This is a pre owned, pre loved worn brooch and as such is not in "new" condition but in very good used vintage condition. It is more of an artefact than a fashion piece.
I have not cleaned this piece in order to protect its delicate nature however it could be polished up using a treated dry duster designed for silver. The patina does not diminish the unique whimsy and beauty of this piece.
Measures approx - 2 x 2.6 cm.