DAPHNE BROOCH-PUIG DORIA

£1950

1970s brooch by the Barcelona jeweller Puig Doria. It is 18ct, plique-a-jour translucent enamel, and set with approximately 1.2 cts of diamonds. The story of Daphne is from Classical mythology. The nymph Daphne, the daughter of the river god Peneus was the first and most celebrated of the sun god Apollo's loves. According to Ovid, Cupid in spiteful mood was the cause. He struck Apollo with a golden arrow, kindling love, but Daphne with a leaden one, putting love to flight. Apollo pursued the unwilling girl, and when she had no more strength to flee, she prayed to her father to save her, whereupon branches sprouted from her arms, roots from her feet, and she was changed into a laurel tree. (Hall's Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art-thanks) and is usually depicted changing, as here. Plique-a-jour is an enamelling technique popular in the Art Nouveau period. It is translucent, like a stained glass window, letting light through. Enamel is just powdered coloured glass until fired, and to hold it in the piercing, it is necessary to back it either with mica, which is heat resistant, or with copper, which is then burnt away with acid after firing - either way a difficult technique. This is an unusual brooch, beautifully made. It is 2 7/8 inches: 7.4 cms and weighs 33.1 grams.