Mrs Newman

'The First Woman Artist-Jeweller'

Wilson 55 are delighted to offer for sale an exquisite pendant by the first woman artist jeweller, Mrs Newman. Charlotte Isabella Newman (1836-1920) was a leading London jeweller at a time when the manufacture of jewellery was considered a male profession. The first woman to be admitted to the Jewellers Guild, Charlotte Isabella Newman, otherwise known as Mrs Philip Newman is a jeweller who paved the way for female jewellers. 

Discovered on a valuation appointment, this wonderful piece was inherited by our Cheshire vendor who had no idea of the historical significance of the piece. Set in gold, with bold red enamel, opal and diamond detailing, this wonderful piece remains superb condition, complete with original attachment enabling it to be worn either as a pendant or a brooch. From the amazing condition of the notoriously fragile enamelling, it is clear that this piece has been hardly worn and kept in its case for over a century.

Likely to be one of Mrs Newman's later works and a departure from her earlier archeological revival style, this piece displays the sinuous lines, gem-set drops and openwork frame seen in Edwardian jewels. Adopting the fashionable pendant style yet retaining her signature enamelwork with beautiful foliate gold accents, this beautifully finished piece is set with an old cut diamond and four vivid opal cabochons.

The first female studio jeweller, Mrs Newman's work is so special to collectors because no two pieces are alike. Appearing infrequently at auction, and with a handful of pieces viewable in key public collections such as the British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum, Mrs Newman's pieces are highly sought-after by collectors.

Newman's pieces frequently use enamelling, fine detailing, granulated goldwork and colourful gemstones, signed with her trademark 'Mrs N' or 'N.' Our pendant not only bears the 'Mrs N' mark to the reverse of the bale, but comes complete with fitted case, as it was presented at the 10 Savile Row shop. 

Mrs Newman History 

Charlotte Isabella Newman was born in 1836. Studying her craft at the Kensington School of Art, Charlotte started her career working for leading London jeweller John Brogden. John Brogden was active from 1842-1885 and worked very much in the classical taste that was highly fashionable thanks to Castellani. 

Charlotte worked with Brogden initially as a pupil and assistant, before filling the role of goldsmith and eventually designer. She exhibited in Paris with John Brogden in 1867 and 1878 where he was awarded the Legion d'Honneur. Uniquely, she was awarded the médaille d'honeur as a collaborator, indicative of what a key role she played for Brogden. The pair were prolific, with Charlotte producing the designs for many of Brogden's pieces in his signature revivalist style. Indeed, in the Victoria & Albert Museum's collection is 'The Brogden Album' of over 1,500 designs produced between 1848-1884. 

According to Shirley Bury (1999), “Charlotte Newman at John Brogden’s was unable fully to spread her wings until she set up on her own after his death in 1884."

Mrs Newman opened her first shop in 1894 at 18 Clifford Street, retaining many of the craftsmen from Brogden's workshop and producing pieces in the latest aesthetic fashions. In 1899 she moved to 10 Savile Row where she stayed until her retirement in 1910. Her business card and the inside of the fitted case accompanying our piece reads "Mrs Newman, Goldsmith and Court Jeweller."

Mrs Newman's business continued to operate from Duke Street ran by her daughter and granddaughter until the eve of World War Two. 

 

 


21.6.21: Unsurprisingly, this wonderful piece by Mrs Newman attracted a huge amount of interest from collectors, with telephone and online bidders battling it out on the day. The piece eventually exceeded estimate and sold for £1,952. If you have a piece by Mrs Newman, or any antique jewellery you would like a free, confidential and up-to-date auction valuation on, get in touch with us via liz.bailey@wilson55.com.

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