Necklace with sapphire pendant
Jewels were often transformed to meet the needs and whims of generations of owners.
In this necklace, the oldest part is the central bow, dating from about 1660. The last owner was Laura Alma-Tadema, an artist who included a version of it in her painting, Queen Katherine of France.
Western Europe, bow about 1660, chain and pendant probably 1800-1900
Gold with table-cut diamonds, enamel, a large sapphire and a pearl
Bequeathed by Lady Alma-Tadema
In this painting Laura Alma-Tadema has shown the necklace with what appear to be red gemstones. This could indicate artistic license or a further adaptation of the necklace.
The scene comes from Henry V and is one of a series by various artists called the Heroines of Shakespeare.
By Laura Alma-Tadema
Oil on canvas
By Permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC
Lady Alma-Tadema (born Laura Theresa Epps) bequeathed this necklace to the V&A in 1909.
This portrait was painted around the time of her marriage to the painter Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. They met in 1870 when she was a young art student, and he was her tutor. One year later, they were married. She had a successful career as an artist and exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.