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April 21st, 2022

Art That Made Us

In this fascinating 8-part series on BBC2 celebrating art & design in the UK, Shaun Leane was invited along to explore how Mary, Queen of Scots promoted her brand through jewellery and fine gold Scottish craftsmanship.
Mary, Queen of Scots by Nicholas Hilliard 1578

The Penicuik Jewels

Dating back to the late 16th century, these are some of the finest pieces of Renaissance jewellery associated with Mary, Queen of Scots and were long preserved by the Clerks of Penicuik, as relics of the Queen. The Penicuik Jewels collection includes a gold necklace, locket, and pendant.

The necklace design features 14 large oval beads with intricate filigree work which are divided by smaller circular beads. These beads would have originally contained perfume.

The enamelled locket is a more personal item of jewellery due to the painted miniatures showing a man and a woman, said to be Mary and her son James.

The final piece of the collection, a double-sided pendant depicting Mary herself, which is believed to have been formerly attached to the locket.
The Penicuik Jewels
The Onyx Cameo Pendant
Mary, Cameo Centre
French or Italian Design Influence
The Decorative Back
"Mary - on her return to Scotland - to be Queen was determined to restore court life and the image of prestige to the monarchy using her powerful education and experiences. Her beautiful image - fine clothes and exceptional jewels were crucial to restoring courtly power, so Mary’s jewels belong to the HEART of Scotland. "

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