Spectacular emerald jewelry belonged first to Lady Ludlow Alice Wernher Mankiewicz.
In 1903 the house Huton Loo, was bought by Sir Julius Wernher, who had made his fortune from the diamond mines of South Africa.
The Wernhers' great art collection, equal to that of the Rothschilds, their near neighbours at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, was later further enhanced by the marriage of Harold Augustus Wernher, the son of Julius Wernher, to Anastasia de Torby, the morganatic daughter of a member of the former Russian Imperial family, generally known as "Lady Zia". She brought to the collection an incomparable assembly of Renaissance enamels and Russian artefacts, including works by Peter Carl Fabergé, the Russian Imperial court jeweller. Many of the Fabergé items were stolen in the 1990s. For many years, the collection and the house were open to the public, with the house having undergone a major and hugely successful rejuvenation under the direction of Mrs Lucy Phillips, Lady Zia's grandduaghter-in-law, that brought back to life the Russian Chapel and opened up new areas of the house whilst also showcasing more of the Wernher collection.
The lavish redesigning of the interior in the belle epoque style resulted in a magnificent backdrop for Wernher's famous art collection. The marble-walled dining room was designed to display Beauvais tapestries, while the newly installed curving marble staircase enveloped Bergonzoli's statue "The Love of Angels". At the centre of the house the massive Blue Hall displayed further tapestries, Louis XV furniture, and Sèvres porcelain. Sir Julius Wernher's widow, later Lady Ludlow, added her collection of English porcelain to the treasures of the house.
The Wernhers, by virtue of Lady Zia's sister Nadejda de Torby, were very close to Prince Philip, who along with the The Queen, were frequent visitors to Luton Hoo both for public events and private visits. Whilst the royal couple spent a number of wedding anniversaries staying at Luton Hoo.
In the painting, Lady Ludlow is wearing a Renaissance chain with an large emerald pendant on her hip, it's rembembers of a gem now in the british museum
the rider should be regarded as an American Indian, principally on the basis of its bare-breasted, long-haired appearance and especially its use of a feathered head-dress. The bare legs and feet combined with the American Indian features of the face do, indeed, suggest that the goldsmith was quite deliberately creating a direct reference to the New World.Pendant jewel; gold; set with cabochon emeralds; form of hippocamp ridden by small female figure wearing feather diadem and holding trident; body of animal chased with cartouches, enamelled, and set with graduated emeralds; scroll feet; suspends from double chain with four pearls; cartouche set with emerald and pearl pendant suspended from it.
Noted from the British museum:
The so-called ex voto of Cortes that was recorded in the Guadalupe ‘Inventario’ of c. 1777 has disappeared, but a pendant of a winged creature with a very similar pointed emerald beak is now in the Wernher Collection, Luton Hoo, and is considered to be closely related.
The Luton Hoo 'winged dragon', which has no earlier history, does not have the usual curving graceful tail that ends in the normal pointed terminal tail-fin; instead it is straight and abruptly ends in an intricate cornucopia-like knob or terminal. This straight truncated cornucopia tail is just as incongruous and inexplicable as the curving cornucopia tail of the Waddesdon mermaid. A close examination of the Luton Hoo jewel confirms the impression that it was probably made in the same workshop as the Waddesdon pendant.
Furthermore, the Luton Hoo jewel is also important in this context because the links of the jewel's double suspension chain correspond exactly with the design of the four smaller links in the Waddesdon double chain, even to the tiny pierced holes on either side in each lobe. Regrettably, the distinctive type of links used in the double suspension chain and the central pendant hanging from the 'cartouche' of the Waddesdon jewel cannot be paralleled on any extant jewel with a well-documented history or provenance, though it can be seen on a monster-fish pendant and a winged dragon pendant ; both are in private collections in America and attributed to Spain in the late sixteenth century. Interestingly, the former is richly studded with cabochon emeralds and the latter with faceted emeralds.
Probably originating in the same workshop as the Waddesdon jewel is the large and well-known Centaur pendant jewel, preserved in the Hispanic Society of America's collection in New York. Priscilla Muller has described it as a “late 16th century” Spanish jewel of enamelled gold set with a “white sapphire”. This large faceted gemstone is set in the centre of the Centaur's abdomen surrounded by the same intense dark blue enamel that is such a distinctive feature of the Waddesdon jewel; the gold setting of this gemstone, which is hexagonal, appears to be in an unaltered state. If the printed description is correct - and it is certainly very surprising - then this “white sapphire” is unlikely to have been cut and set in this fashion in the late sixteenth century, and so the age of the entire jewel is called into question. Certainly, the plain burnished gold of the Centaur's face, neck, arms and hands corresponds closely in style and technique with the Waddesdon jewel. In most essential respects the design of the Centaur jewel faithfully echoes the Barcelona drawing of 1600 in the Llibres de Passanties, folio 350 , but perhaps because of a gauche misunderstanding on the part of the goldsmith the real character of the Barcelona design has been lost and a clumsy, insensitive, three-dimensional version has resulted - particularly noticeable around the Centaur's tail, legs and torso. The jewel exhibits few of the vital characteristics that would help to re-affirm the traditional dating of this spectacular pendant to the Renaissance but rather more of the tell-tale signs of a modern copyist slavishly clinging to the two-dimensional source - a Barcelona apprentice drawing.
Most of the jewels of Alice Wernher, Lady Ludlow, was sold on auction, in 1946, as well as seen above in the picture her large pearshaped emerald earpendants and the large emerald ring.
Source:Wikipedia; LutonHouse, The Hoo ;