Pendant with miniature portrait of Robert Harcourt Twycross (b. 1769)

Collection Type

  • Jewelry






Gold wire necklace and pendant [.1] with a miniature watercolor on ivory of Robert Harcourt Twycross set in a gold frame with pendant loop, reverse is set with a spray of palette worked hair in a feather design with seed pearl and gold wire accents on an opaline ground. Oval red leather fitted case [.2].


Descriptive Terms

pendants (jewelry)
miniatures (paintings)
gold (metal)
watercolor (paint)
ivory (tooth component)
opal glass
human hair
glass (material)


"Mementos: Jewelry of Life and Love from Historic New England": Robert Twycross joined his uncle Stephen, already an established jeweler, in London for an apprenticeship at the end of the eighteenth century. As proof of his skill Robert sent this gold-framed miniature portrait to his mother in Maine.
"Cherished Possessions": Early in the nineteenth century, Robert Harcourt Twycross, living in London, sent this miniature of himself to his family back in Maine. Twycross was born in 1769 in what is now Dresden, Maine. In 1783, he was apprenticed to his uncle, London jeweler Stephen Twycross. Apparently Robert became a successful jeweler. By 1816, however, his career seemed in jeopardy. He wrote to his brother back in Maine that in the aftermath of the Napoleonic War, trade in London was very bad, claiming the “change of things has ruined us all.


"R H Twycross / Jeweller / No. 9 Brook Street / HOLBORN / LONDON." (Paper Label)

Additional Identification Number



Attributed to Place, George, d. ca. 1809 (Miniaturist)
Attributed to Twycross, Robert Harcourt (Jeweler)

Location of Origin

London, England


3 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 1/2 (HxWxD) (inches)

Credit Line

Gift of Williams Waters

Accession Number


Exhibition Notes

"Cherished Possessions: A New England Legacy," Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, July 2003 to October 2005. "Jewelry at Historic New England," Online exhibit presented by Historic New England launched September 30, 2007 at

Reference Notes

This miniature is featured in Carlisle, Nancy, "Cherished Possessions: A New England Legacy," (2003) 212-213; and by Fales, Martha Gandy, "Stephen Twycross, London Jeweller, and His American Patrons," Jewellery Studies, no. 6 (1993): 37-41. For an overview of miniature paintings in New England, see Shusan, Elle, "Tokens of Sorrow: New England Portrait Miniatures and Mourning Jewelry," in The Art of Family: Genealogical Artifacts in New England, ed. D. Brenton Simons and Peter Benes (2002): 127-143; and Fales, Martha Gandy, "Jewelry in America: 1600-1900," (1995): 83-97.


London (Greater London, England, United Kingdom)