How magnificent is this piece? It’s one of ten in the world. A very expensive wind-up toy whose whiskers move, it is made in gold and decorated with red garnet eyes and pearls. It is thought to be of Swiss origin by Henri Maillardet and dating from around 1810. From The Winterson Journal:
The story of Britain’s history and relationship with this precious metal is told by The Goldsmiths’ Company in a fascinating new exhibition entitled “Gold: Power and Allure”.
Housed in the magnificent surroundings of Goldsmiths’ Hall, London, the story of our love affair with gold starts with a chance discovery of ancient goldwork near Stonehenge. Dating back to 2300BC, it is thought that these ornaments are some of the earliest pieces of worked gold found in the UK. A series of Bronze Age and Early Iron Age torcs and crescent-shaped lanula neck pieces are also really quite beautiful.
Since then, gold has been actively mined throughout England and Wales, with gold for royal wedding rings today traditionally being made from Welsh Gold. In the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the exhibition includes a number of historic and royal items including gold crowns, brooches and a rather ghoulish gold ring, that was taken from the finger of the dead Queen Elizabeth I.