A delightful portrait miniature of enamel over gold of "Impudence" after the famous Landseer painting "Dignity and Impudence" (see scan of the Landseer below). The verso is signed "W. Essex / 1863" (William Essex, about 1784 - 1869). In 1839, William Essex was appointed Enamel Painter in Ordinary to Princess Augusta, Queen Victoria and HRH Prince Albert. Queen Victoria was said to be greatly enamored by the Landseer painting, hence her enamel painter copied the West Highland White Terrier in miniature. Essex served as master for several artists who would become famous in their own rights. Essex's miniatures of dogs are highly sought after and very scarce.
An interesting note is that the dogs who served as models for "Dignity and Impudence" were actually named Grafton and Scratch. Grafton and Scratch were owned by Landseer's good friend Jacob Bell who commissioned the portrait. Bell bequeathed the portrait to Tate Britain in whose collection it remains today.
This beautiful miniature measures 9/16" in diameter and is set in a beautiful chased gold setting atop a beautifully shaped gold stickpin. The entire piece is 3 3/4" long. There is some light surface abrasion on the dog's nose which you can really only see with a loupe or in these greatly enlarged photos.
The ultimate in sentimental jewelry!