An Italian enamel, gold and gem-set agate bust of a Moor, circa 1600.

The figure wears a frogged coat decorated in white, black and green enamel, with frogging of translucent blue.

The agate head wears a turban with a diamond-set aigrette.

The bust appears in an Inventory of 1690 and was set at a later date on a different pedestal; this one, also gold, decorated with trellis work enriched with spinels.

The inventory known as the 1690 Devonshire Schedule listed an enormous bequest from Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire (1619-1689), to her daughter Anne, Countess of Exeter (1649-1703).

This included, under the heading ‘Gold Things’: ‘A Moores Head Cutt out of an olive stone sett with pearle Rubies and Diamonds upon a Gold and Jett ped-stall with a large Turquoise stone plate of Eight Squares’.


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