French, late 19th Century. Cast and chased gold Stick Pin in the form of an entwined winged dragon grasping a diamond in its mouth.
According to Vever, brooches in the form of winged dragons or ‘broches-chimeres’ as he describes them, were introduced by the Maison Plisson & Hartz, a partnership which lasted from 1898 to 1904. (The firm was previously run by Plisson alone, 186-98. After Plisson’s death in 1904, the firm continued as Hartz & Compagnie, see 1121 and 816.) The brooches illustrated by Vever from this firm are more compact in design than the examples in this group, none of which appear to be by Plisson & Hartz (Vever 1908-12, 111, p.566). Although Vever does not mention Alphonse Fouquet, the archives of the Maison Fouquet reveal the importance of his designs for ‘broches-chimeres’, made in the 1870s and 1880s in association with his famous series of ‘bijoux renaissances’. Many of these designs were included in the exhibition devoted to the work of the Maison Fouquet, held at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 1983.(see Les Fouquets; Bijoutiers & Joailers a Paris 1860-1960, Gary & Possémé, 1983).
Vever remarks that, despite their initial cool reception, these ‘broches-chimeres’ became immensely fashionable and were produced in Germany as well as France. Evidence of their popularity well into the twentieth century is provided by a page of closely related designs from the trade catalogue produced by the Parisian jewellers’ syndicate ‘Oria’ in 19222 (Fig. 107). (extract courtesy of the V&A)
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