Society of Jewellery Historians Lecture

24th January 2023

Natasha Awais-Dean

Jewels captured in perpetuity: the jewellery book of Anne of Bavaria.

In 1843, the Bavarian king Ludwig I (r.1825-1848) gifted the Bavarian State Library an illuminated manuscript – the Kleinodienbuch der Herzogin Anna von Bayern. Beautifully executed and remarkable for its contents, this work is a pictorial inventory of the jewels that belonged to Albrecht V (1528-1579), Duke of Bavaria, and his wife Anna (1528-1590). Among the 108 illuminations painted by the court painter Hans Mielich (1516-1573) are depictions of 71 items of jewellery owned by the Duke and Duchess. Only one object of this corpus survives – a collar of the Order of St George – but the importance of this manuscript is undeniable. It securely dates a variety of jewels, ranging from hat ornaments and pendants to bracelets and even a fan holder, to the middle of the sixteenth century and links them to their elite owners. The inventory reveals much more than written inventories or portraits alone can. This paper presents the Mielich inventory and situates some of the jewels in their social and historical context, to highlight how important these small-scale objects were to the men and women who owned and wore them