woodville bling

I had to wait until Monday to get this lot plated,

So I decided to have the last two evenings off from sewing so I could set stones.

Earlier in the year I bought fabric to make a version of Elizabeth Woodville’s famous portrait. I haven’t started on the dress yet, but I made bling. Perhaps the reason the portrait is so well known is because there are so many versions.

And there are a lot of differences, so I’ve focused on the early versions.

I’ve seen versions of the jewellery based on the later painting

which as you can see depicts the upper necklace as a distinctive chevron pattern, with a central pendant containing only one stone and no pearls. The lower pendant is shown as a whopping big stone on a plain square – this seems clunky and unmedeival to me

But the two earliest versions are quite different

The upper necklace isn’t chevrons, it looks like either an impressionistic depiction of a broad chain, or perhaps a double row of small pearls. And the pendant has stones on the petals and pearls on the edge.

The lower pendant isn’t a solid square, either, it’s a far more gothic quatrefoil with even more pearls.

The later copyists got lazy and missed out a lot of detail.

So here’s my finished bling

For the top necklace I’ve gone for a broad chain, which is a double loop in loop. It’s not overly flexible, but for me it’s a feasable interpretation of the points of light on the first collar. I didn’t have a large pyramidal diamond (early diamonds weren’t the multi-faceted jobs we’re familiar with now) so I used a big white moonstone. And it sits well when it’s on

The other pendant was a problem for me. I can cope with a collar, but dangly pendants flapping around on my boobs literally get on my tits. So although I put a loop on the back for a black cord like the one in the portrait, I also put a small brooch pin on as well so I can fix it into place when  wearing it.

Setting the pendant was just a tale of disaster though. It was meant to have a large piece of amber in the centre to reflect the rich red of the one in the portrait. Because there’s a bit of a lag between making the thing and setting it because of the assay office, I have a compartment box where I keep stones for finished portraits. I saw that chunk of Amber last week, but I turned my entire workshop upside down on Tuesday evening, checked every box, scrabbled around under the bench, but couldn’t find that amber.

Which left me with a choice-

A) wait until the amber turned up, which would inevitably mean leaving it to go dusty on my bench for at least three years.

B) find something else to fit, and accept that the amber will now turn up next week.

So the only thing I had was a slightly too small smoky quartz, which I had to surround with an extra strip of silver inside the bezel to stop it moving. I’m expecting the amber to appear right in the middle of my bench at approximately 4.30pm on Saturday.

I also managed to snap off one of the two pendant loops (it had two to make it hang square) which is a problem because you can’t solder gilt metal without buring off the gilt. So I had to come up with a unsoldered repair.

I drilled two holes behind one of the bezels, pushed a looped wire through, and bashed it over inside the bezel before setting the pearl. I was worried it would sit a bit high though, so I used a bit of epoxy glue as well, which is a massive cheat. But at least now it has two loops again



~ by opusanglicanum on September 6, 2018.

4 Responses to “woodville bling”

  1. What a chapter of frustration! But the broad chain does sit beautifully. I’m sure Elizabeth Woodville would be pleased with it!

  2. Do u sell

    • I’ll consider comissions, but the brooch would be about £350-£400 depending on the stones, the necklace would be double that, because handmade chains are very time consuming

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