A Royal Presentation Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee Brooch, 1887
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Measurements: 46mm x 33mm
Provenance: Russo Collection, Heritage Auctions, 24 April 2008, lot3 6138.
Gold and enamels. Concaved oval eglomise head and shoulders portrait of Queen Victoria based on the 1887 Golden Jubilee photograph by Count Stanislaw Julian Ostrorog, set against a red ground, encircled by the Garter motto ‘Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense’ The Queen depicted with the 1870 small diamond crown worn over her widow’s cap, star and sash of the Order of the Garter, the Sovereign’s badge of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, and the Order of the Crown of India, the Coronation Necklace and Earrings. The reverse marked ‘10ct’ and engraved ‘WALERY, LONDON’.
Queen Victoria’s first sitting with the court photographer ‘Walery’ at Windsor Castle in 1884. The success of the sitting ensured the Queen’s favour, royal patronage and a royal warrant.
One biographical source relates the Queen especially ‘favoured his innovation - oval brooches where her likeness was printed onto enamel and mounted in brass, which made a useful personalized gift from the monarch.’ The present brooch mounted in 10 carat gold and utilising Walery’s official Golden Jubilee photograph portrait can thus be confidently dated to 1887, and seen as a presentation item of especial quality.
Walery was the trade name of the Regent Street royal photographers Count Stanislaw Julian Ostrorog (1830-90) and his son Count Stanislaw Julian Ignacy (1863-1935). The name Walery derived the maiden name of the elder count’s wife Countess Teodozja Waleria, née Gwozdecka. Count Ostrorog was born in Lithuania and was of noble Polish descent. He served in the Russian imperial Guard during the Crimean war but changed sides for political reasons and served with the Polish cavalry division of the Ottoman army, before moving to London around 1857 and becoming a British citizen in 1862. In the 1870s he operated studios in Marseilles and Paris, where Victor Hugo numbered among his sitters, before moving permanently to London and successively opening lavish studios in Conduit Street and Regent Street in 1884-85. It has been said that his noble birth, drive and personal charm opened court doors where rivals would have struggled. In 1894 the son Count Stanislaw Julian Ignacy described a visit to Windsor presumably with his father. ‘On the agreed day we appeared with a camera and backgrounds etc. in Windsor, where Her Majesty was photographed in a studio. I believe that this was originally set up and used by her husband (Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha), whose hobby was photography. Some photographers had brought three or four cameras to this shooting session in order to get a sure result. We, on the other hand, never used more than one camera. Her Majesty is an excellent model, extremely amiable, attentive and accommodating.’
Following the sudden death of Count Ostrorog the elder in 1890, this son continued the business with Alfred Ellis as a partner. Educated in Poland and France and after briefly holding a commission in the Royal Artillery, the equally urbane younger Count moved to Paris in 1900 to pursue photography of less formal subjects - Mata Hari and Josephine Baker being among his many notable sitters.