Victorian Silver Chatelaine
The Chatelaine has its origins
in the Middle Ages, when the mistress of the house
kept the important keys for her home attached to
her belt. It re-gained popularity in the Victorian
era when they were made of sterling silver and/or
pinchbeck (a gold like material but not gold) and
had a number of household items attached to them.
This is an excellent example of a 5 chain model.
Many of the silver items had different hallmarks
on them as pieces were replaced because of damage/loss
or there was a wish to 'build up' the overall Chatelaine
over a period of time. This chatelaine has its original
upper clasps, the chain attachments are from different
years but are all contemporaneous.
The top belt hanger clasp is cast
and has a pair of putti at centre, one reclining over
a drinking cup, and both are surrounded by a foliage type
design. There is a bottom finial to this part which comprises
of a third putto holding a shell motif on the shoulder.
Attached to this upper piece by way of two small link
chains is the triangular intermediate hanger, which is
of filigree ornamentation with a satyr face at the top
centre and leaf and branch design. From this intermediate
section hang five chains, the longest of which is 6”.
These chains all have satyr masks interspersed with a
small medallion which has a star design thereon all of
which are individually connected by way of small links.
At the end of each chain there are domestic utilitarian
objects required for use by the housekeeper/mistress of
Chatelaine is in excellent condition and is of
sterling silver, hallmarked Birmingham 1881. It
has the maker's initials 'GU' for George Unite
and all hallmarks are clearly stamped on the back
of the belt hanger clasp. There are seven components-
a belt hanger, intermediate hanger and 5 appendage
2 of Silver Chatelaine Feature
– A pair of small scissors with steel blades,
silver handles and encased in an elongated triangular
carrying case lined with a velvet-like material.
The handles of the scissors are decorated with flower
and fauna motifs whilst the carrying case has scroll
work on both front and rear surfaces. In the middle
of the case on either side is a thespian-style caricature
mask with tongue protruding. The case terminates
in the face of a mythological animal’s head.
The whole is attached to the main chain by way of
a double link chain extending from both sides of
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