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1QUEEN VICTORIA: A LIFE IN JEWELLERY EWELLERYmeant a great deal to Queen Victoria throughout her long life ( 1819- 1901). As a record of significant events, it marked the transition from girl to young queen and from wife to widow; it embodied her adoration of her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe- Coburg- Gotha, in life and in death; it expressed her delight in her children and grandchildren. From the time of her first gifts of jewellery as a young girl and even through her long widowhood she wore fashionable or popular items alongside her state and family jewels. Sentiment, to her, was the most important attribute of jewellery. She made little dis-tinction between state jewels and personal mementoes, and when she came to list the Jewels of the Crown she included both the most precious and those of greatest sentimental signifi-cance. 1 Meticulously engraved on the reverse with donor and occasion, her personal jewels act as a journal of her intimate life during her marriage. 2With the untimely death of her hus-band at only forty- two, Victoria entered her long widowhood, bringing up a family of still- young children without the support of their father and her most valued mentor. Later, as a more remote figure, revered monarch, Queen- Empress and ' Grandmother of Europe', with descen-dants reigning in many European courts, she presided over a vast empire and celebrated two significant new- style jubilees. She was greeted on her jubilee appearances in 1887 and 1897 with wild public enthusiasm, prompting many surveys of the achievements of herself and her people and a consolidation of the ' Victorian' idea. As trophies of state, jewels gave her an aura to match the image of monarchy created by Victoria and Albert. As modest gifts, reflecting her general prudence, jewels encapsulated the latest scientific and technical innovations as well as expressing gratitude, conveying moral and religious messages and a full range of sentimental and intimate meanings. This chapter surveys the role of jewellery in her reign, the fashions set by her example, the gifts given and received as young girl, wife and mother with a large family, widow, grandmother, and in old age, and serves to introduce the themes of the book. The effect on the arts - and in this con-text jewellery - of a fixed and influential figurehead over such a span of time forms the background to this study. The influence of Queen Victoria and her reign New research has demonstrated how Victoria stood at the cultural heart of her reign and how she actively promoted her own image by influencing the media. 3 A modernizing monarch, she contracted a marriage to a highly cultivated husband that produced a perfect partner-ship, domestically and constitutionally. As the mother of nine children - the ' ideal' Victorian family - her circumstances were mirrored across the nation. Victoria herself broke with many age- old traditions at court and the Prince spent an enormous amount of thought and energy - and attracted great unpopularity - in reorganizing the Royal Household. Albert was the Queen's first cousin, and the British royal family had ties of blood with royal families across Previous pages: left, Prince Albert memorial pendant ( see Fig. 32); right, Queen Victoria( see Fig. 17) J

15 Europe. 4Contacts with the ' cousinage' and further marriages consolidated shared conven-tions and court etiquette, which spilled out into the wider populace. The Court Circular in The Timesreported fully on the Queen's costume and jewellery, as did the Morning Postand the Morning Chronicle. 5The extensive listings of guests at royal entertainments provide a well-rounded picture of the character of the court. The rapid growth of a print and visual culture was decisive in shaping the direction of an up- to- date monarchy. 6The start of the Queen's reign more or less coincided with the begin-ning of mass media communications, social reporting and the proliferation of women's magazines on fashion and home- making. In its very first issue in 1842 the Illustrated London News, founded by Herbert Ingram and his friend Mark Lemon, editor of Punch, stated its mission to act as a ' chain' connecting the cottage to the palace. 7The incessant flow of intimate personal detail inevitably diminished the mystique of the Crown. The Queen and her family became effec-tively public property, commercially significant in generating a trade in royal style and in souvenirs of royal events. There was no legal control over the use of the royal image or even of the royal arms, resulting in commercial exploitation of every aspect of the reign. Her por-trait featured in advertising across the whole range of consumer goods, even some laughably inappropriate, such as starch and shoe polish. The Queen was much in demand for portraits; she was a willing and co- operative sit-ter and a stern critic of the outcomes. The visual record of her life is extraordinarily rich and informative, with early images emphasizing the glamour and allure of a young unmarried girl appearing in the ' Books of Beauty' popular at this date. The novelty of a young female sover-eign had its effect: as early as February 1839 the Art- Union noted that more than fifty portraits of her were available. 8 For her portrait in the French magazine La Perle ( Fig. 1), her jewellery includes a fashionable ferronnièreand garnet- set brooch and earrings. A similar gold and cabochon garnet brooch of the same date is preserved in the V& A ( Fig. 2). Every new technique was employed for reproductive portraits, from embossing to pro-duce a medallion- like image, to gilding and images in silk- weaving for ribbons ( see Fig. 23). Her coronation and marriage resulted in an avalanche of portraits. 9Press attention reached frenzied levels and opportunist reporters, ' penny- a- liners' as they were known, became so intrusive that a system of appointing royal correspondents was put in place and has remained ever since. Prints of the Queen and the events of her early reign offered as prizes in the lot-tery run by the Art- Unionmagazine ensured their wide distribution to the public. Portraits were issued as pull- out supplements to illustrated periodicals, to be detached and framed. The public in its widest sense was fully informed of the Queen's taste and style and that of her family. With her marriage and growing family, the focus shifted to domestic propriety and maternal responsibilities. The family groups, centred on a Raphaelesque Madonna- like Queen, reinforced the message of the mother as the moral heart of the family ( i. e. the nation). Victoria herself was very interested in the personalities and character of other courts; she collected portrait prints avidly, and, as soon as they became available, photographs, of which she had a vast number. Her familiarity with the European princely families was to prove valuable in her search for spouses for her children. From 1843 Queen Victoria's jewels and those of her children and members of the extended family are revealed in the Crown Jeweller Garrard's royal ledgers. 10These present a virtually complete history of taste and attitudes to jewellery during her lifetime. This unique THE INFLUENCE OF QUEEN VICTORIA AND HER REIGN