A second set of most skilled designs for pendants and earrings


Hans Collaert

Height: 17.1 cm, Width: 8.9 cm

E.2210-1911 PDP

Hans Collaert (after), plate from a suite of ten, including title plate, showing jewellery in the shape of sea creatures. Flemish ,1582.

Design for a pendant with a merman blowing a conch shell, a nude holding a reed and a nude holding an oar, all seated on the back of a sea monster.

After Hans Collaert’s death in October of 1580, his sons and his publisher, Philips Galle, produced two more sets of engravings after his designs for jewellery. This is the second one, published in 1582, and is comprised of ten prints including the title page. Though it represents the last of Hans’ publications, it is also the first dated plates engraved by his son Adriaen, who would continue to an illustrious engraving and publishing career of his own. Each image shows a pendant in the shape of a sea creature and topped with humans, dieties or merpeople. The pendants dangle from delicate ribbon work and are each hung with three pearls. It is possible that the bodies of the sea creatures themselveves were made out of baroque pearls. Baroque pearls were famous for their irregular shapes and were prized in the early modern world as the basis for elaborate jewellery designs such as the ones seen in the Collaert series.

For an example of a baroque pearl pendant contemporary to these designs, see M537-1910 in the V&A collection. For an example of a sea-creature pendant similar and contemporary to this design, see 44.443 in the Walter’s Art Museum collection. Collection numbers 12828.1 and 227853 in the V&A collection are duplicates of this print. (F. Allitt)

Location: Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case EO, shelf 12

View this object on the V&A website