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Ref  WD4   Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover

A sulphide cameo portrait set to a gold ring, circa 1830, of Ernest Augustus [1771 - 1851], King of Hanover. Ernest was the fifth of the nine sons and the eighth of the fifteen children of King George III and Queen Charlotte. As a fifth son Ernest seemed unlikely to become a monarch but none of his four elder brothers had a legitimate son who survived infancy. Salic Law barring female succession prevailed in Hanover, so when his elder brother William IV died in 1837, Ernest succeeded him as King of Hanover. A reactionary monarch, Ernest revoked the Hanoverian constitution but was forced to restore it in 1848 to prevent revolution. He remained King of Hanover until his death in 1851.
The innovative concept of enclosing  porcelain material depicting historical subjects within glass was originally conceived in Bohemia in the late 18th century. Although these early attempts were not completely successful, the technique of miniature cameo incrustation was perfected in France by 1800 and introduced to England around 1819 by Apsley Pellatt. The sulphides were made of china clay, sand, and potash, heated and cast in plaster-of-Paris moulds. After firing and cooling, they were reheated and enclosed in molten crystal. When finished, the sulphide had a silvery apperance. This sulphide portrays Ernest in military attire wearing the Order of the Garter Star. Interestingly, he is depicted facing sinister. During military action in 1793, Ernest received a saber wound to the head which left him with a disfiguring scar, so most portraits of him are facing dexter. The ring is size L and 1/2 [US 5 and 7/8] and can be sized a little and the head of the ring measures 3/4 of an inch by 2/3 of an inch. For similar sulphide cameo depictions of historical figures, see the V & A Museum and British Museum jewellery collections.

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Portrait of Ernest Augustus
133339-004-CF23B3C5





 

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