Enamel watch depicting the Virgin and Child
Small enamelled watch by an unknown maker, Switzerland, c.1880. Engraved and enamelled gold case, numbered 10291. The back is enamelled with a scene of the Virgin Mary, Jesus as the Chirst Child and John the Baptist, within a gold rococo border and black surround. The scene is derived from the painting 'Madonna della Seggiola' c.1513 by Raphael. The front cover encloses a small offset silver dial with blued steel hands, surrounded by floral enamelling also on black ground. Bar-type movement with cylinder escapement. Clockmakers' Museum No. 1142.
The colours of this enamel portrait are somewhat different to those of the original, painted by Raphael. It is likely that the enameller copied the image from a mezzotint reproduction, rather than the original painting. The mezzotint process produces a tonal image only, meaning the enameller would have had to guess all of the colours.