This rare and wonderful circa 1860 antique clasp or buckle is a museum-worthy jewel that you'll want to display in a vitrine or shadow box frame when you aren't using it.
By far the most romantic fashion accessory I've ever seen, it would be divine at the waist of a wedding or evening gown -- although it's easy to imagine it securing the cloak of a pre-Raphaelite poet like Christina Rosetti, as she trekked through foggy London or across windswept moors.
Crafted in two parts linked by chain when closed, this astounding item features profiles of a medieval knight and his lady, executed in high relief and remarkable detail. Each panel, about two inches round, is further embellished by an elaborate decorative motif that shows Etruscan influence in the beading of the metal. I'm not certain about the material, but it seems the figures are of gilded copper, while the frame is of gilt brass.
Obviously it dates from the mid-19th century, when the "Gothick" movement begun by Pugin expanded from architecture into other areas. For those in the avant-garde, the style provided appealing relief from neo-classicism and evoked a medieval sense of heroic endeavour and the heartiness of "Merrie England" in the Middle Ages.
Condition is quite good, given the great age of such a functional piece. There's only minor loss of finish on the front - which, as you see, is dazzling - but evidence of very old repairs became apparent after cleaning the heavily patinated reverse (no surprise since the piece has a delicate openwork understructure). There's also a tiny chink out of one edge, where a thread hole pulled through; it wouldn't be noticed when worn and another could be easily drilled in the vicinity. The price would of course be a great deal higher, if everything were perfect.
There's no charge for U.S. shipping, with an equivalent discount on international delivery, and gift wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!