A lady at Eldreds.
Posted On: 03 Jan 2024
A beautiful and ornate practical accessory worn by a lady of the house has been consigned for sale in Eldreds fine art and antiques auction in March.
With its origins in pre-Medieval times, châtelaines were worn by both men and women, usually hooked from a pocket or chain/belt around the waist and were a symbol of a person’s status within the house and authority over its contents.
Originally made for practicality and convenience, châtelaines often carried useful tools and trinkets that would be needed during the day’s work, such as scissors, keys, thimbles, lorgnettes, vinaigrettes, small penknives and writing implements. During the 18th and particularly 19th centuries however, these adornments became a popular fashion accessory, made from brass, silver and gold and sometimes decorated with gemstones, cameos or enamelling, often depicting flowers or religious scenes.
Those made in silver or silver plate were often worn by the housekeeper of wealthy European houses, but gold châtelaines are rarer and would have been worn by the lady of the house, with attachments that only she would be allowed to use and often with additional charms for decorative purposes only. By the later 19th century, changes in fashion styles and social arrangements for women had made the châtelaine largely obsolete and other jewellery designs such as brooches and pendants became more popular, but pretty and ornate châtelaines from a bygone age still hold a fascination and charm that bidders will be keen to add to their collections.
Eldreds châtelaine is fashioned from 18ct yellow and rose gold chains, with a watch key and crest seal on lyre charms and two chain-linked bells for added decoration, denoting the very high status of the owner. Beautifully-understated with a simple floral design accented with baroque and seed pearls, this classy piece will be a popular auction find and is estimated at £1,500-1,800.