Lot 400
  • 400

Impressive emerald and diamond brooch, circa 1840

480,000 - 770,000 CHF
bidding is closed


  • Emerald, diamonds, gold, silver
Set with a step-cut emerald weighing approximately 135 carats, between two floral motifs mounted en tremblant, within a frame of foliate design set with cushion-shaped, circular-, single-cut and rose diamonds.


Princess Mary Althea Beatrix Doria Pamphilj,

Princess Emily Augusta Doria Pamphilj,

thence by descent.

Catalogue Note

The Doria Pamphilj Landi Family

The illustrious family Doria Pamphilj, of ancient Genoese and Roman nobility, is the result of the union of two families, for centuries, protagonists of the great events of Italian history.

Andrea Doria (1466-1560), commander of the papal fleet, and admiral of Emperor Charles V, liberator of Genoa, was for many years the "de facto" ruler of the Genoese Republic, to which he gave a new constitution and artistic splendor. In 1531 he received from Charles V, the Golden Fleece, and was appointed Prince of Melfi, an honor that passed to his heir and great-grand-nephew Giovanni Andrea I (1540-1606), a powerful figure in Genoa as head of the Spanish party and guide of the "old nobility".

The fortunes and social affirmation of the Roman family of Pamphilj reached their zenith in 1644, when Cardinal Giovanni Battista (1574-1655) became Pope with the name of Innocent X. Prince Camillo Pamphilj (1622-1666), nephew of the Pope, in 1647 renounced his cardinalate in order to marry Princess Olimpia Aldobrandini, whose dowry included the palace in Via del Corso, which houses the Doria Pamphilj Gallery and today is still the Rome residence of the family. Camillo and Olimpia, keen patrons of all the arts, were responsible for acquiring the most important nucleus of paintings and sculptures preserved in the palace which include art works by Mattia Preti, Claude Lorrain and Gaspar Dughet, as well as a large number of works by Flemish masters. The superb portrait of Pope Innocent X by Velazquez, entered the Doria Pamphilj collection in these years together with the Pope’s marble bust by Bernini and Algardi’s bust of Olimpia Maidalchini Pamphilj. Particularly fortunate purchases for the prestige of the collection were two early masterpieces by Caravaggio: Rest on the Flight into Egypt and Penitent Magdalene. Renaissance masterpieces such as Titian’s Salome, Raphael’s Double Portrait and Parmigianino’s Nativity joined the collection as part of the Aldobrandini legacy.

Among Camillo and Olimpia’s children, it was Cardinal Benedetto (1653-1739), a friend of Corelli and Handel, who distinguished himself as a patron of the arts. His sister Anna married in 1671 the Genoese nobleman Giovanni Andrea III Doria Landi (1704-1764) and their grandson, Giovanni Andrea IV, following the death without heirs of Prince Girolamo Pamphilj Aldobrandini in 1760, moved to Rome to receive the Pamphilj inheritance. In 1763 his son, Andrea IV (1747-1820) officially added Pamphilj to his name.

Outstanding members of the family in the 19th century include Cardinal Giuseppe Maria Doria Landi Pamphillj, Secretary of State of Pius VI; Filippo Andrea V (1813-1876), deputy mayor of Rome and a senator of the Kingdom of Italy following the unification of 1870; Domenico Doria Landi Pamphilj (1815-1872) founder of the S. Maria in Cappella hospice; Filippo Andrea VI (1886-1958), who, for his moral probity and for his unyielding opposition to fascism, was appointed Mayor of Rome in 1944 after the Liberation. Among the female members of the family one should mention Princess Teresa Orsini Gravina (1788-1829), the Servant of God, founder and co-founder respectively of the religious institutions Suore Ospedaliere and Dame Lauretane, and Princess Emily of the Duke of Newcastle family (1863-1919), founder of the Scuola Regina Elena, the first non religious school in Rome for the training of professional nurses.


Palazzo Doria Pamphilj and Villa del Principe

The splendid monumental complex of the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj in Rome is the result of architectural and artistic efforts covering four centuries. It houses a number of beautifully decorated rooms and a Gallery where works of art belonging to one of the most glorious collections of the Baroque age are exhibited in 18th century taste.

Equally important is the Villa del Principe, Genoa, a magnificent example of Renaissance architecture. Considered the only "palace" that the Republic of Genoa ever had, it perfectly conveys the sense of power and grandeur that Andrea Doria and his heir Giovanni Andrea I, wanted to project.

Among the treasures housed in the Genoese residence of the Doria Pamphilj family are a pair of 15th century tapestries made in Tournai depicting the life of Alexander the Great, a gift of Emperor Charles V to Admiral Andrea Doria, the Portrait of Andrea Doria by Sebastiano del Piombo and the cycle of tapestries depicting the Battle of Lepanto illustrating with a great wealth of detail, the military exploits of Giovanni Andrea Doria I.

The Commission of the Jewels

Filippo Andrea V Doria Pamphilj Landi, Prince of Melfi (28 September 1813 - 19 March 1876) met his future wife Lady Mary Althea Beatrix Talbot (29 May 1815 - 18 December 1858), daughter of Lord John Talbot, 16th Duke of Shrewsbury, probably for the first time at Queen Victoria’s coronation in June 1838. Mary was lady-in-waiting to the Queen and Prince Filippo Andrea, according to Queen Victoria’s diaries, was “a handsome man, and an extremely good dancer but rather dull”!

They married in 1839 and Mary together with her sister Gwendoline who had married Prince Marcantonio Borghese, 8th Prince of Sulmona in 1835, soon became very popular in Rome where they were admired for their beauty and much loved for their religious devotion and charitable work.

The Prince may have been ‘dull’ but certainly had the means and very good taste and he lavished his beautiful wife with rare and precious jewels. The imposing emerald and diamond brooch and the unique diamond pendant offered in these pages, are both realized in the romantic naturalism in vogue throughout Europe in the 1840s. They may have been creations of French, Swiss or Russian artists and retailed in Rome, or indeed the work of one of the leading Roman jewelers working in the internationally accepted vogue.


Filippo Andrea and Mary had seven children: Teresa, Giovanni, Andrea, Alfonso, Guendalina and Olimpia. Their heir was Alfonso Doria Pamphilj, Prince of Melfi (25 September 1851 - 5 December 1914). In 1882, Alfonso married Lady Emily Augusta Pelham Clinton (28 April 1863 - 23 December 1919), daughter of Lord Henry Pelham Clinton, 6th Duke of Newcastle-Under-Lyne, and Henrietta Adela Hope, only daughter and heir of Henry Thomas Hope, who left in his estate inter alia the famous Hope Diamond. Filippo Andrea augmented the family jewellery collection and among the most important additions was a splendid and imposing emerald and diamond necklace he had designed for Emily in late Victorian style.


In the photograph taken at the end of the 19th century published on page 240, Emily is reading in a salon which is now the current Prince’s dining room in Palazzo Doria Pamphilj in Via del Corso, Rome. The room was designed by the architect Andrea Busiri Vici who re-modelled much of the house Alfonso and Emily lived in to reflect contemporary taste. The Victorian feel of this room is in strong contrast with the décor of contemporary Rome of the time, and reflects Alfonso’s  personal taste acquired during the years of his education in England and during the extended stays at Clumber Park, seat of his wife’s family, the Dukes of Newcastle. The tapestry in the background is one of a pair manufactured in Tournai at around the end of the 15th century depicting the life of Alexander the Great. These two monumental tapestries along with the cycle of tapestries depicting the Battle of Lepanto are currently exhibited in the Palazzo del Principe, home of Andrea Doria in Genova. 

The wooden bust in the background depicts Andrea Doria and is now in the Prince’s library.