AN EXQUISITE BELLE EPOQUE PAINTED MINIATURE, DIAMOND AND ROCK CRYSTAL PENDANT WATCH, VERGER
The pendant of rectangular outline in frosted rock crystal, with rose-cut diamond detail, centered by an oval miniature depicting a classical scene painted en grisaille, the reverse, another oval miniature of similar design incorporating a watch, with painted Arabic chapters and silver-colored hands, suspended from a black silk cord, with rose-cut diamond and frosted rock crystal bead accents, mounted in platinum, in a leather fitted case signed W.A. Bolin, Stockholm, circa 1910--23 ins. long
By Ferdinand Verger, enameling by Fernand Paillet
The French maison, Verger Frères, created beautiful clocks and watches that were retailed under such names as Lacloche, Boucheron, Tiffany & Co., and Van Cleef & Arpels. A house is only as good as its jewelers and Verger employed talented artists who could realize works of art in miniature form. Such an individual was the enamelist, Fernand Paillet, who drew upon classical subjects to decorate jewelry and watch cases. He is credited with executing the illustrated watch with its superb painting in grisaille enameling. In this technique, the design is scratched into a black base to which thin coats of opaque white are applied. As the enamel sinks into the black, it becomes gray. Where the white is heavily applied, it turns completely opaque; and where thin, as various tints of gray. Popular in the sixteenth century when the Limoges master enamelists perfected the technique, grisaille enameled panels in jewelry from the first decade of the twentieth century are very rare.
On this watch, Paillet drew upon the poses of the figures in "The Rape of the Sabine Women" by the Baroque painter, Pietro da Cortona. Instead of depicting the savageness of the encounter, he reinterprets the theme as love, symbolized by a putto with bow and arrows. Paillet signed both sides of this watch with a variation of the letter, "P." For an illustration of an enamelled miniature by this artist, see Penny Proddow and Marion Fasel, "Diamonds, A Century of Spectacular Jewels", New York, 1996, p. 39.