CHERUBS ON JEWELRY BOXES Art Nouveau and Victorian angels and cherubs represented winged heavenly beings, signifying the message of love and were an expression of the Romantic Movement on Jewelry boxes 1900-25
News-Antique.com - Nov 30,-0001 - Jewelry boxes manufactured in America during the early 1900’s, are a remembrance of our history and a time during which spiritual expression was conveyed through art.
Antique jewelry boxes (also called jewel caskets or trinket boxes) are delightful treasures often decorated with angels or cherubs. Both angels and cherubs represent winged heavenly beings. Cherubs are depicted as beautiful, innocent, chubby babies with wings. Cupid, the son of the goddess of love in both Greek and Roman mythology, was a beautiful young boy with wings who used gold-tipped arrows if he wished two people to fall in love. All these--angels, cherubs, and Cupid--signified the message of love.
Cherubs have appeared in works of art from the time of ancient Mesopotamia and remained a common theme in Greek, Byzantine and European paintings and sculpture. Late Christian-inspired art depicted cherubs as plump children with wings, as in Raphael's Sistine Madonna.
During the late 1800's and early 1900's when Americans, the English, and French were enjoying an artistic and philosophical Renaissance, cherubs were an important theme that reflected the virtuous ideals of the time, yet also an appreciation of mankind’s place in the joys and glories of the world—a spiritual contrast to the “cold” Industrial Revolution. Cherubs could be found described in literature, portrayed on canvas and in sculpture, and as a design on many decorations in the home.
Jewelry boxes, frequently covered with cherubs, hearts and roses, were an expression of the Romantic Movement--conferring the message of love. This was an era when people not only spoke the words "I love you," but an article given as a gift, would confer that sentiment with every incident of use. A gentleman would give his lady fair not just a “present,” but a physical manifestation of his affection spelled out clearly by a symbolic messenger such as Cupid or a Cherub. A jewel box was the perfect gift in the early 1900's for a gentleman to express his admiration for a lady.
Joanne Wiertella is a major collector of antique American jewel boxes. After her first discovery nearly 20 years ago, she developed a passion for collecting them, and later began researching their origins. She has recently published a book on these lovely American art metal novelties which pictures her collection of 500+ Jewel Boxes.
To find more information about these quaint and beautiful art pieces, you may read about them in the first book published on the subject, The Jewel Box Book: The Definitive Guide to American Art Metal Jewelry Boxes 1900-1925. Inside the full-color, 208 page book is a wide selection of information including: styles (Art Nouveau, Victorian, Rococo, Revival); manufacturers; floral and other motifs pictured and explained; metal composition and finishes; period advertising; trademarks, patents, and copyrights.
The Jewel Box Book: The Definitive Guide to American Art Metal Jewelry Boxes 1900-1925.
(J-Victorie Books, 2005). Hardcover: ISBN 0-9763710-0-6 $42ea; Paperback: ISBN 0-9763710-1-4 $30ea. Available at www.jewelboxbook.com