Brooch, Robert Phillips, c.1875

Star Sapphire, Gold and Enamel


depicting a winged solar disc, set centrally with a cabochon star sapphire in a gold mount, enamelled black and white flanked either side by two gold cobras and with the stylised wings of a falcon.

The winged solar disc is a combined symbol of the Egyptian gods Re and Horus. Re was the Egyptian sun god and came to be closely associated with Horus, a falcon-god.  Both were worshipped as gods of light and were associated with the Pharoah, hence cobras, symbols of the Pharoah and of the sun, are includedin the iconography alongside the falcon’s wings.

Robert Phillips won a gold medal at the 1867 Paris exhibition for his range of archaeologically inspired jewellery.

Circa 1870
Length 5.4 cm

With the discovery of ancient treasures in Egypt, as well as the completion of the Suez Canal in the 1860s, artists working in the late 19th Century became inspired by the ancient Egyptian style. Phillips produced a number of jewels in this style, including an important parure set with irridescent beetles.