This is a Victorian Snake and Heart Brooch with coiled snake set with ruby eyes and holding a heart in it’s mouth which is set with a turquoise, both the snake and heart are hand engraved with a foliate scroll pattern.
Acid testing indicates it is made from 9ct. gold.
The reverse of the snake is engraved “Margaret Wilson Blakesley August 21st. 1845”.
The snake is a symbol of wisdom and eternity and along with the heart held in its mouth symbolizes eternal love. The turquoise is the birthstone for December and I am assuming that Margaret who was born about 1823 may have been born in that month.
The brooch was a present to Margaret on her wedding day from her husband Reverend Joseph Williams Blakesley on 21/08/1845, in Bungay Suffolk. Blakesley who was a close friend of Tennyson, sought relief from the English winter of 1857-58 in Algeria on Doctors orders. He wrote a book as an account of the experience titled “Four Months in Algeria”. In 1863 he was made Canon of Canterbury Cathedral and in 1872 Dean of Lincoln Cathedral. Margaret and Joseph had ten children, one of which Miss Alicia Blakesley, who as a painter exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists in 1893 and at the Royal Academy in 1896.
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