Justin Vulliamy (1712-97), a leading London watchmaker, collaborated with an artist in Geneva and goldsmiths in London to make this watch. It demonstrates the close links between the luxury trades in these two cities. The watch would have been worn by a woman, probably hung from a chatelaine at her waist. It has three cases, the outermost glazed to reveal this enamel scene of Hope Nusing Love on the back of the middle case. This side would have been worn facing outwards to reveal the scene.
London and Geneva, about 1777
Gold with enamel and diamonds
Dumb-repeating movement with cylinder escapement by Justin Vulliamy
Lent by Barclays Group Archives
V&A: Loan:Barclays Bank.2
The enamel on the middle case was adapted from this engraving. Miss Morris made her debut as an actress in Romeo and Juliet in 1768, but after a few performances collapsed from exhaustion. She died in 1769.
Vulliamy commissioned the Swiss artist Pierre-François Marcinhès (1739-58) to paint the scene in enamel for the watch. He probably sent Marcinhès an uncoloured engraving made of the painting by Edward Fisher, published in 1770.