Bracelet, Melillo, c.1890
consisting of seven square hinged plaques with two semi-circular panels, each decorated with intricate Etruscan style motifs and abstract designs in fine granulation and wirework with applied florets, the reverse of each panel decorated with stylised wirework flowers with four elongated petals which extend to the corners, the clasp consisting of a gold bar with reeded loops.
The central plaque applied to the reverse with a gold plate which is inscribed:
“Executed by Eduardo Melillo Under the Direction of Giacinto Melillo, Napoli, Marzo 1899.”
Signed: ‘GM’ for Giacinto Melillo
The design for this striking bracelet is derived from jewels in the Campana collection, purchased by Napoleon III in 1860-61 for the French state. The collection contains three bracelets adapted from Etruscan gold elements which are similarly decorated with granulation and wirework. These distinctive jewels were illustrated in a catalogue published by the Louvre in 1862. In the same year, Castellani exhibited a bracelet at the International Exhibition in London which was inspired by these Etruscan ornaments.
The British Museum has an almost identical bracelet by Giacinto Melillo (Museum No.: 1978,1002.144), which was given as part of the Hull Grundy bequest.
For references to comparable bracelets by Melillo:
See page 419 of Jewellery in the Age
of Queen Victoria (Gere and Rudoe, 2010).
See plate 106 of Castellani and Giuliano: Revivalist
Jewellers of the Nineteenth Century (Munn, 1984).
Castellani had been given privileged access to the Campana collection before it was sold. It provided his craftsmen with intimate access to these ancient treasures and the freedom to carefully study the techniques used to make them.
Giacinto Melillo (1846-1915) took over the management of Alessandro Castellani’s workshop in Naples in 1870. Clearly a prodigious student, at the age of nineteen Melillo had directed a goldsmithing school and by the age of twenty four he was running a workshop. Between 1870 and 1900, Melillo exhibited his work at fifteen international exhibitions, winning gold medals at five of them.
For further information about Melillo and his work, please follow the link below: