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A real treasure to come by! This lot features two sub-lots;
1) a superb pair of c.1920’s Victorian, Egyptian Revival earrings in original case! Each earring features a green iridescent scarab beetle mounted in gold-plated brass hardware that drops from two ornate ropes and a conjoining delicate filigree bobble. The case is original and bears the name of a goldsmith by the name of FLOCON based in (the then French occupied) Algeria and Tunisia. Offered in very good condition. Dimensions: 3.5 cm in length. Weight: 3 grams.
2) a black and white photograph of the original owner, Mrs.Carmen Caruana Dingli, a renowed Maltese fashionista, wearing the featured earrings; also in good condition.
*This item comes with full provenance. More information & photos available upon request*
About The Egyptian Revival Style
The Egyptian Revival style was popular in the decorative arts throughout the nineteenth century, continuing into the 1920s. The vocabulary of ancient Egyptian art would be interpreted and adapted in different ways depending on the standards and motivations of the time. After Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign of 1798–9, teams of artists and scientists were employed to catalogue the sights and new discoveries. The first volumes of Le Description de l’ Égypte (The Description of Egypt), published in 1809, had large folio prints of various Egyptian scenes, including the pyramids and other antiquities. The second edition of this archaeological text, issued in 1830, and the translation of the Rosetta Stone in 1822 sparked further interest in Egyptian art and culture in both Europe and America.
The second wave of the Egyptian Revival in America began around 1870. After the Civil War, Americans became interested in other cultures and, among other countries, most notably Japan, looked to the Middle East and North Africa for inspiration. The taste for Orientalism and exoticism was manifested in various decorative arts, perhaps most obviously in furniture. Much Egyptian Revival furniture is marked by the combination of Egyptian motifs and symbols with more traditional Western forms, particularly the classical. In this pseudo-Egyptian style, common core structures are embellished with details such as gilt bronze fittings shaped like sphinxes, Egyptian scenes woven into textiles, and geometric renderings of plants such as palm fronds. There is no known complete large parlor set of Egyptian Revival furniture, meaning pieces produced by a company like Pottier and Stymus were likely intended as accents in rooms of traditional furnishings.
In addition to adorning architecture and furniture, Egyptian motifs were also used in the smaller decorative arts. As a result of continued academic publications from archaeological expeditions, the sphinx, the pyramid, and hieroglyphics became commonly known iconographic forms, all of which can be seen on Tiffany & Co.’s intricately ornamented mantel clock, which was once owned by Charles, father of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Continued archaeological investigation led to constant new discoveries of antiquities in Egypt—events like the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the excavation of Tell El-Amarna in 1887 kept Egypt in the press. While orientalist themes and subjects were common in painting and sculpture, Egyptian iconography was generally translated into the decorative arts, as the highly stylized aesthetic meshed well with everyday objects like ceramics and silver as well as jewelry.
As more literal translations of ancient Egyptian art passed out of style, designers began adopting these more artistic motifs. In 1905, when Louis Comfort Tiffany built his home Laurelton Hall, in Oyster Bay, New York, much of the decoration was indebted to the orientalist and Egyptian Revival movements. Lotus blossoms and reeds are juxtaposed with geometric mosaics in the capitals from the house’s loggia. These columns display the appropriation of Egyptian forms by modern decorative movements. This looser adaptation of the vocabulary of Egyptian antiquities represents a taste for eclecticism at the turn of the century. Heterogeneous monuments, such as Laurelton Hall, unified the language of multiple revival styles into a single artistic form. Although the motifs are not purely Egyptian, the overall aesthetic is reminiscent of Egyptian styles.
At the turn of the century, various styles in the decorative arts became popular, such as the Aesthetic, Arts and Crafts, and Art Nouveau movements. However, Egyptian motifs still appeared occasionally in the decorative arts, such as the geometric embellishment and palm leaves in Marie Zimmermann’s unique jewelry and decorative work. There would not be another major period of Egyptomania, as scholars now refer to these periods of obsession with Egyptian antiquities, until the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, after which Egyptian influences pervaded modern culture. Egyptian motifs would become an integral part of the language of Art Deco, a style that would dominate the decorative arts until the mid-1930s.
- Ickow, Sara. “Egyptian Revival.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/erev/hd_erev.htm (July 2012)
A Pair of Egyptian Revival Scarab Earrings +A 1920s Photo of Maltese Fashion Icon, Carmen Caruana Dingli (original owner) Wearing Them
€1,500.00 excl. VAT