Friday, February 13, 2015

Gifts of Grandeur: King George V's Tortoiseshell Box, c. 1910

Box of Tortoiseshell, silver gilt and a rose-cut diamond.
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

When we think about the Royal Collection, especially from the period after the reign of Edward VII, those familiar with the provenance of most of the pieces therein, immediately think of Queen Mary, the ultimate collector.  However, Mary wasn't the only crowned head from 1910-1936 with an eye for attractive objects.  Her husband, King George V also had a knack for collecting handsome antiquities, treasures, and contemporary works.

This masculine box of tortoiseshell, gilt silver and a single rose-cut diamond dates to the early Twentieth Century and was made specifically for His Majesty George V and fits perfectly with his personal collection of simple, elegant pieces.  The polished lid is rimmed with gilt mounts set with a relief of berried laurels.  When the lid is removed, the gilded interior shows an engraved, crowned cypher--GVR.

Masterpiece of the Week: “The Fairytale,” by James Sant, 1845

The Fairytale
James Sant, 1845
The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

A favorite painter of Queen Victoria’s, James Sant enjoyed painting landscapes, but was better known as a portrait painter. This member of the Royal Academy was welcomed into the most prominent homes in England, including the Royal residences, where his prestigious sitters were delighted by his beautiful canvases and marveled at his exceptional work ethic. The collections of many of England’s stately homes include portraits and landscapes painted by Sant.

Every so often, Sant combined his two loves—landscape and portraiture—into genre paintings, domestic scenes and historical or literary groups with strong compositions and delicately painted figures. He especially thrilled in painting mothers and children. One of his more famous paintings is a portrait of a mother and child in a allegorical composition entitled “The Fairytale.” 

Now housed in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, the painting is at once tranquil and tender as well as urgent and mysterious. On the surface, it is simply a scene of a mother telling her young child a fairytale, but look closer. This is a study of Victorian-era ideals. Examine the painting and see what it says to you. 

Click on the image below for a super big copy:

The Home Beautiful: Pochoir Furnishing Fabric, 1925

Click on image to see a pink spaniel.
Furnishing Fabric, c. 1925
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Made in Manchester, England, around 1925 by Tootal, Broadhurst, Lee & Co, this furnishing fabric was designed by George Sheringham. The repeat of the material depicts a couple attired in Eighteenth Century court costume. Their companion is a pink spaniel. 

Such fairytale-inspired scenes were popular in the 1920s. This one borrows its theme from a series of Italian fashion plates which were made by with pochoir stencils.

The Art of Play: German Toy Birds, 1910

Toy Birds, 1910
Based on Designs from 1850
The Victoria & Albert Museum
In the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Museum of Childhood, there are several examples of German wooden toys which demonstrate the originality of German designs for children. Here, we see one of a group of traditional German toys which were made in the 1900s.

Though they were made in the Twentieth Century, they were based on designs which dated to the previous century. The toy consists of a carved hummingbird at each end of a cross bar. Beneath each bird is a leather bellows. When the upright bar is moved from side to side the bellows are operated causing the birds to whistle.

Such clever toys were wildly popular both in Germany and in England. However, due to their delicate nature, few survive. 

Unusual Artifacts: A Rare Antique Sand Toy, 1850-1870

Sand Toy
French, 1850-1870
Gerard Camagni
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This unusual and exceptionally beautiful toy dates between 1850 and 1870 and comes from France. Sand toys are particularly rare—prone to damage from wet weather and their fragile natures.

Sand toys function by the power of falling sand which is distributed through a complicated system of hoppers and paddle wheels which served to “animate” a paper figure within a glass case. Given the nature of the mechanism, sand toys didn’t function very well except in extremely dry weather. They were very often broken from the shaking of frustrated children who wanted to mechanism to work in all conditions.

This exquisite toy of glass, paper and wood is intricately decorated and features a figure of a woman in Eighteenth Century dress. Upon the release of the sand, she dances within her glass case.

Remarkably undamaged, this beautiful antique is part of the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Bertie's Weekly Pick: A Clockwork Bear, 1850-1899

Every week, I'm giving Bertie a chance to pick a favorite object to discuss.  This week, he's decided on this cute, but sadly-muzzled, toy bear which was the subject of a past article. 

Clockwork Bear
The Victoria & Albert Museum

While the concept of a “Dancing Bear” seems quite cruel to us now, it was a staple of Nineteenth Century carnivals and an idea that was often incorporated into children’s playthings. To begin with, the bear was already a favorite subject of toy makers of the Nineteenth Century both in Europe and in the U.S. Here’s a rabbit skin and clockwork example which not only looks disturbingly realistic, but also dances just like the bears that people would see in traveling shows.

This poor bear stands on its hind legs and balances its weight on a walking stick. A figure of wood and cardboard covered in fur, it contains a clockwork mechanism. The bear has a brown glass eye (the other is missing), red plush jaws and teeth made of bone. Its nose and paws are of carved and painted wood. Upon his mouth, he wears a brass wire muzzle from which hangs an attached chain and ring.

Probably the work of a French toymaker, the toy is operated by a large brass key with a circular handle which is inserted into the right side of the body. When the metal rod on the left side is moved, the figure is animated--alternately rocking from side to side to give the impression of walking and dancing.

It’s attractive and horrible all at the same time, sort of like the very idea of a dancing bear.

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: A Pull-Along Bear, 1920

Pull-Along Toy
German, c. 1920
The Victoria & Albert Museum

By the 1920’s, toy manufacturers were often producing cuddly teddy bears that offered snuggly companionship to youngsters. However, some manufacturers recognized that many children preferred more active and realistic toys, and, in response to that produced soft animals which were more natural looking than their cute counterparts. These toys were regularly mounted on wheeled platforms so that their child could move them around easily.

This Pull-Along Bear dates to about 1920 is comes from an unknown German manufacturer. Still in excellent condition, his wood frame shows more wear than does his mohair coat. No doubt, he was rolled more than he was cuddled.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Mastery of Design: The Salamanca Pendant, 1800-1870

Salamanca Spain
The Victoria & Albert Museum

It’s not surprising, given Spain’s highly-Catholic history, that Roman Catholic imagery would be incorporated into all art forms. Many jewels made in Spain from the Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries featured religious themes along with more secular designs.

This cross-shaped pendant is a good example. Made in the Salamanca region of Spain, the pendant is a great representation of the sort of filigree work which made the region famous. While the piece is dominated by the cross, it is suspended from a tulip, and this from a filigree bow—a popular fashion of the early-to-mid Nineteenth Century. Similarly, as was the style of the time, the pendant is made in three sections—each encrusted with seed and baroque pearls attached by thin gold wire. The whole was worn on a ribbon, tied around the throat.

The work of an unknown jeweler, the piece dates between 1800 and 1870.

History's Runway: The Mappin & Webb Vanity Case, 1935

Gold Vanity Case
Mappin and Webb, 1935
This and all related images from:
The Victoria & Albert Museum

By the 1930, the use of snuff had long been out of favor and producers of luxury goods looked for something to replace the elegant gold boxes which had long been a mainstay of their concerns. Though not good for world health, the cigarette case was a natural successor to the snuffbox as smoking was quite the thing. Similarly, vanity cases of gold and other precious metals began to take center stage in the world of opulent accessories. Here we see such a vanity case. These were made for Society ladies as a container for their personal items. This one holds an eyebrow pencil, lipstick and compartments for powder with puffs.

The gold case was made by Mappin and Webb in Sheffield, England in 1935 and is set with cabochon sapphires. 

The Home Beautiful: A Silver Snuff Grater, 1700

Silver Snuff Box with Built-in Steel Grater, 1700
Made in Britain
The Victoria & Albert Museum

A box with a hinged lid and two compartments, this snuff grater was designed to hold a block of compressed powdered snuff in the smaller compartment while the larger compartment, fitted with a perforated grater, would have held the grated snuff powder. The lid was made to close very tightly—an essential state for keeping snuff dry and sniff-able. 

Boy, but that just sounds like terrible stuff.  Nevertheless, it was quite popular and it made for some attractive containers and tools like this one.  The lid of this grater is engraved with the monogram “HE” for the Edmonds family of Yorkshire, and with the family crest of a three-masted ship in full sail.  It was made around 1700.

Oddly enough, snuff, and tobacco in general, was thought to have some handy medicinal uses.  Aside from being addictive and completely ruining one’s nasal respiration, I can’t see what else it could do.  But, again…we do have some lovely containers left behind from this revolting habit.  

Unusual Artifacts: The Nautilus Powder Flask, 19th C.

Nautilus Powder Flask
Pakistan, Nineteenth Century
The Victoria & Albert Museum

The elegant but impractical black powder firearms of the Nineteenth Century required the constant reapplication of powder to make them shoot.  So, powder flasks were an important part of their operation.  Powder flasks usually came in two sizes.  The largest size was used to hold coarse grain powder which was employed for the main charge in the barrel.

Here’s an example of the type of powder flask which was used for coarse powder. This flask was almost certainly used with a hunting or sporting weapon.  In those cases, more so than in war, these accessories were more decorated and made of higher quality materials to reflect the status of the owner.  In this case, the powder flask is made from the shell of the pearly nautilus with carved mother-of-earl panels applied with metal pins and a turned finial to which red silk cord attachments are fixed.

It was made in Lahore, Pakistan during the first half of the Nineteenth Century.

Painting of the Day: Matthew Prior, c. 1700

Matthew Prior
Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1700
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Well, well, here’s a fella who looks like he’s trouble. He also looks like he’d benefit from a good sandwich. Mmmm…sandwich. But, I digress. Who is this impish bloke?

He’s Matthew Prior (1664-1721). You’ve heard the name, I’m sure. Or, not.  I don't know what you have heard and haven't.  Prior was a celebrated poet, diplomat and politician, as well as a fellow of St. John’s College Cambridge. Most likely, you know his name from reading his translations from Horace and Ovid, or, perhaps you’re familiar with his poetry. Prior is also known to museum-types like me for his collection of important paintings and prints.

A chum of King William and Queen Mary, Prior was considered a superb diplomat. He’s buried in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey. I remember seeing his monument which features a rather startlingly descriptive inscription:

"Matthew Prior Esq. A fever, gradually creeping up on him, as he meditated upon the history of his times, broke together the thread of his life and of his labours on Sept.18th A.D.1721 in the 57th year of his age.”

This painting was executed in 1700 by Sir Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723) during a time when portraits of literary types were quite popular.

The painter, Sir Godfrey, was born in Germany where he studied mathematics and military fortification (yawn), and, then, at some point, for some unknown reason, he was apprenticed to Rembrandt and began to travel to Rome and Venice. By 1676, Kneller secured Royal patronage to King William III, and, of course, settled in England. He was knighted in 1692 and was considered one of the most fashionable of portrait painters. He was especially known for his series of portraits of ladies at the Royal Court which is known now as “The Hampton Court Beauties” (which for some reason reminds me of Kathie Lee Gifford who, early in her career was a Hee-Haw Honey). He’s also the artist of the “Kit-cat Portraits” of members of the famed “Kit-cat Club.” Lest you think that’s more portraits of “beauties,” I should tell you that they’re gents—none of whom are particularly attractive, sadly. The Kit-cat Club was a group of Eighteenth Century Whigs who gathered at Christopher Catling’s Inn and feasted on the innkeeper’s famous mutton pies which he had playfully called “Kit-Cats.”

And, now, you can say that you read about mutton pies today. I’ll bet it’s the only time.

Antique Image of the Day: The old goat and young kid- or the Queenborough-novelist, 1798

Click on the image like a spider on a fly.

"The Old Goat and the Young Kid"
Fores, 1798
The British Museum

This satirical print dates to 1798. Entitled “The Old Goat and Young Kid—or the Queenborough-Novelist,” the print was published by S W Fores though for a long time it was attributed to F. Sansom.

We see here a peer on the front steps of his Piccadilly house. He’s leering at a busty girl through a double spy glass. The girl, a country lass, is with her yokel father who is being solicited by a bawdy older gal. She says:

"It’s very lucky I met with you my honest Man if she behaves well she shall be promoted to the service of a Duke.”

He responds, "Very lucky indeed I'se Woundily Obliged to your Ladyship. My Dame always said as how Bet was cut out for Zarvice of your great Volkes."

A delivery man looks up at the leering Duke and says, "Ah! I knew he'd dart out like an Old Spider at a Fly.”

Ephemeral Beauty: Rumford Chemical Works Baking Powder

Click on image to get a closer look.

Nothing says home-baked goodness like “Chemical Works.”

The front of this handsome, and atypically large, trade card is printed with a very Rembrandt-y portrait of a curly-locked tot of indeterminate gender. The work of The Major & Knapp Lithography of New York, the card is copyrighted 1884 by the Rumford Chemical Works.

So, what could this be advertising? Oil? Cleaning solution? Soap? Insecticide?


Baking powder.

How can this be? Let’s see what they say: 


The Healthful and Nutritious 

Baking Powder. 

It is recommended and used by the leading Physicians 
and Chemists, and its use is positively 
Beneficial to Health. 

Phosphate of lime is an essential constituent of all grains, and
is an important nutritive principle and indispensable element in the
construction of all the animal tissues.
     In the process of bolting fine wheat flour, a large portion of the
phosphates are lost.
     This Powder supplies the phosphates, this rendering the bread,
biscuit, etc., healthful and nutritious. 

 No other Baking Powder in the world ever received such high
commendation from eminent authorities. 


     Sift the Powder and Flour thoroughly together before wetting.
     Have the oven HOT before mixing the dough.
     Mix the dough as quickly as possible, and put it into the oven immediately. The
quicker this is done, the better the result. 


Send to Rumford Chemical Works, Providence, R.I., for the Horsford Almanac 
And Cook Book.

Wow! What specific instructions! Next time I try to bake something, I'll make the oven vaguely HOT and then work as fast as I can. I wonder what the little child on the front of the card would say. Nothing, I suppose, since he or she would likely be very disinterested.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mastery of Design: The Crouzet Diamond and Pearl Brooch, 1860-70

Crouzet, 1860-70
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Here we see an brooch of openwork gold, enameled in black set with diamonds and pearls, and dripping with pearls and diamond pendants

The brooch is attributed toCrouzet, a master jeweler who worked for all the major Parisian goldsmiths, and who was celebrated for his jewels of fine quality and unique design and his reliance on pieces in the Moroccan taste. This particular example of his work brooch seems to have been inspired by the " moresque " work of the renowned Parisian goldsmith Alphonse Fouquet. As with many of Crouzet’s pieces during this period, this brooch was designed to be worn during a period of mourning or half-mourning.

The Home Beautiful: Crane's Lily and Rose Wallpaper, 1894

Wallpaper by Walter Crane, 1894
The Victoria & Albert Museum

The celebrated Walter Crane was known for his wallpaper designs. Crane’s papers lined the wall of many a Victorian parlor. Here, we see a design for one of Crane’s papers. This woodblock print on paper is an original sketch for Crane’s “Lily and Rose” paper. A pattern of lilies and roses is set upon foliage against a dark red ground. Made in 1894, this is an excellent example of the color scheme which was popular a the time. The paper was designed to be surmounted by a corresponding frieze or border. 

Unfolding Pictures: The Emily Beauclerk Fan, 18th C.

Click image to enlarge.

Hand Fan
French or British, Eighteenth Century
Watercolor on paper leaf with ivory sticks and guards.
The Victoria & Albert Museum

In the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, a variety of hand fans were imported from the East into Europe. China exported a vast array of fans into England and Europe and, soon, the Chiense style became quite fashionable for hand fans. European artists strove to emulate these Chinese fans in order to keep local business going. This fan, made in the Eighteenth Century, probably comes from either Britain or France and is a clever take on the Chinese style which was growing in popularity at the time.

With expertly carved and pierced ivory sticks, the fan sports a paper leaf which has been hand-painted with a watercolor Chinoiserie landscape. However, instead of depicting the usual Chinese figures in Eastern dress, the men and women in the scene are show in fashionable European dress. Their faces, nevertheless, are meant to look Asian. One of the figures, a woman, is shown holding a paper fan with a floral pattern in pink which nearly replicates the flowers which have been painted on the reverse of the leaf. 

The fan was donated to the V&A by one Emily Beauclerk, its last owner.

Unfolding Pictures: An Unusual Handscreen, 1820

Silhouette Handscreen:
"Lady with a Broom."
French, 1820
Turned and carved ivory handle,
linen gauze, paper and card.
Found at Frogmore House, 1979
"Probably Purchased" by Queen Mary
The Royal Collection
Though fans have been a part of daily life since the earliest of recorded times, the handscreen (a relative of the folding fan) became a popular accessory in the Seventeenth Century and continued to be utilized well into the late Nineteenth Century.

A handscreen, or face-screen, has its roots in the designs of rigid hand-fans. Essentially a decorative panel (usually of linen-covered card, paper or painted canvas) mounted on a turned stick, the handscreen served to shield a lady’s face from the direct heat of the fire. Cosmetics, until recently, were largely wax-based. The heat of the fireplace would often cause a lady’s make-up to run. When not in use, handscreens would often be displayed as decorative items on the mantelpiece.

Given their dual nature—both practical and decorative—handscreens, by the Nineteenth Century, were often created as interesting novelties. This handscreen from 1820 is constructed of painted linen gauze over paper, atop a carved ivory stick. It is distinctive because of the two figures in silhouette which have been cut from black card. By means of a lever on the reverse of the screen, the figures are made to move, giving comedic life to a scene of a woman with a broom beating a portly fellow who holds fire tongs and a shovel.

The creator of this interesting novelty is unknown, but certainly French. The handscreen was found in 1979 among several unusual items which had been tucked away at Frogmore House. The only notation of its origins is that it was “probably purchased by Queen Mary.” Not only is it a charming antique, but it’s also further evidence that Mary of Teck, the Antiquities Magnet, was like a magpie—furnishing her nest with pretty little things.

Toys of the Belle Époque: Trentsensky Toy Theater, 1825-1880

Trentsensky Toy Theater, 1825-1880
Victoria & Albert Museum

This toy theater is originally the work of famed toymaker, the Austrian-born, Matthias Trentsensky. Trentsensky began producing these paper theaters in Austria in 1790, using his brother Joseph’s name for the company. Such paper theaters were quite popular in England. Trentsensky exported many of these printed sheets for assembly in Britain.

The theater consists of a stiff paper-board proscenium, fabric-covered base and elaborately detailed paper backdrops. “Plays” would be staged in the theater by using paper dolls in intricately drawn costumes. This particular theater was assembled in Britain and remained in the same family until 1880. The owners added several of their own backdrops to the assortment of scenes that came with the theater.

This Trentensky Toy Theater is in remarkably good condition given its age and the amount of use that it endured for nearly sixty years. Today, it is on display at the Museum of Childhood at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: A Paper Model Kit, 1939

Model of the Empire State Building
Robert Freidus, 1939
The Museum of Childhood
The Victoria & Albert Museum

In the 1930’s, artist Robert Freidus, created a series of paper model sets for children which were based on popular architecture across the world. Building paper models was a beloved pastime for both young and old since the Eighteenth Century. Though it’s largely fallen out of fashion, there’s still a fascination with these delicate models.

This set from 1939 produced a scale model of New York’s Empire State Building. This set, among many others, was part of an exciting exhibit at The Victoria $ Albert Museum which concluded in January wherein the guests were welcomed to create models of their own.

Ephemeral Beauty: A McLaughlin’s Coffee Paper Doll, c. 1890

"One of us.  One of us.  One of us.  One of us.  One of us."

Click on image to see what puts the fourth X in McLaughlin's XXXX Coffee.

This spoooooooky young lady with her glasses and her Audra Lindley curls is happily whipping up a little snack for you. Oh, and, her head comes off.

Thankfully for her, her arms are attached to her head. But, curiously, not to her frying pan.

Clearly, she’s a paper doll. She was part of a pretty clever ad campaign from the late Nineteenth Century for McLaughlin’s XXXX Coffee. I wonder what gave it the extra “x.” It must be because of the detachable head.


McLaughlin’s had sixteen little, flat doll bodies with detachable heads which it offered as a premium. The idea was that you could swap their little heads around and put them in different outfits which folded over the heads. Most heads had arms, too, so that the figures could “hold” things and make flapjacks or something. The reverse of each was printed with some variation of the following--odd, random, incomplete ellipses and all:


.4 Baby Dolls.
..4 Girl Dolls.. 
...4 Boy Dolls... 
..4 Mamma Dolls.. 


One Doll in Every Package of 


What? No Papa Dolls? Hmph.

Since I’m told that I can dress and undress them as I please, I’d best get busy…  Just don't be surprised if you see some paper dolls in the next few days dressed like Wayland Flowers and Madame.  Or...Shirley Jones.  Or...Dick Gautier.  You know, the greats...

Oh!  Wait!  Elizabeth Montgomery and Agnes Moorehead!

Because that's what I please.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mastery of Design: The Lahore Emerald Girdle, c. 1840

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
via The Royal Collection Trust
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The emeralds in this exquisite piece were inherited by India's Maharajah Sher Singh from Ranjit Singh, his father known as the "Lion of the Punjab."  "The Lion," it is said, had used the emeralds to decorate his horse harnesses.  The maharajah had the emeralds made into this exceptional girdle circa 1840.

Nine years later, the Directors of the East India Company obtained the belt and presented it to Queen Victoria in 1851.  

As we know, the East India Company was chartered, as early as the Seventeenth Century, to encourage trade between Britain and the East Indies.  The Company eventually came to rule huge geographic areas of India with its own private armies, and, in doing so, exercised military power while assuming administrative functions.

Company rule of India  began in 1757 after the Battle of Plassey and remained strong until 1858 when, after the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the "Government of India Act 1858" concluded with the British Crown assuming direct control of the land under the new British Raj.

During this period of Company rule, India's leaders were often stripped of their treasures for the benefit of the Company.  This piece was one such treasure.

The Royal Collection states simply that the emerald girdle was...

"taken (as part of the Lahore Treasury) by the Directors of the East India Company, 1849; by whom given to Queen Victoria in 1851."

In short, many British royal jewels originating in India were legitimately given as gifts to the Company or to the Crown, but some were simply war booty, essentially taken from the Indian Maharajahs.  The largest collection of such treasures was taken from the Lahore Fort, just as this girdle was.  The exact number and nature of the jewels taken from the Lahore Treasure was closely guarded by 
 jewellers to the Royal family, Messrs Garrads & Co.  In fact, to this day, an official count is unknown.

Regardless of the manner in which they came into the collection over a century and a half ago, the curators of the Royal Collection have preserved and protected the jewels of The Lahore Treasury, and, in doing so have ensured their survival for future generations to study them.  This is the "give and take" of seized artifacts.  The way they were obtained may not have been too pleasant, but, ultimately, seizing them proves to protect them.

That's how I look at it, anyway.  But, enough of that, let's look at the girdle.

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
via The Royal Collection Trust
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The jeweled belt is comprised of eighteen rectangular gold sections separated by gold links and a buckle.  Each section is edged with diamond and pearl links and set with square or hexagonal emeralds, and four with engraved oval stones. The buckle of the girdle has a square emerald between rows of diamonds in a flowerhead design.  The diamonds are either flat-cut (lasques) or more regularly faceted stones cut either in the West or in India for the Western market. The pearls are probably Eighteenth Century or earlier.

On her visit to the Great Exhibition on 22 May 1851, Queen Victoria was particularly struck by the the magnificence of the items from the Lahore Treasury.  She wrote of the...

 "jewels & ornaments from Lahore, [which] are quite magnificent, - such pearls, - & a whole girdle of emeralds."

When the Great Exhibition concluded,  as I said, the Directors of the East India Company presented the Queen with a splendid selection of these jewels, including a quantity of emeralds, which she described as "wonderful and of immense value."

A good many of the loose emeralds were re-cut and set by Garrards in a new emerald and diamond parure, consisting of a tiara, stomacher and a pair of bracelets, which Victoria wore on her State Visit to Paris in 1855. 

This girdle, which the Queen had so admired, was among the other treasures from Lahore which remained unchanged, and therefore, afford us a window into the style and brilliant craftsmanship of Nineteenth Century Indian goldsmiths.