Anna of Denmark, ‘The Eglinton Jewel’
Portrait by the Studio of Nicholas Hilliard (1547–1619), case by George Heriot (1563–1624)
About 1610, miniature - watercolour and body colour with gold and silver on vellum, laid on a playing card. Case - gold, enamel and diamonds
The ‘Eglinton Jewel’ is a rare surviving example of a piece by the Edinburgh based royal jeweller George Heriot. The enamelled case features the Queen’s interlinked letters ‘AR’ for Anna Regina (Queen), in table diamonds, set beneath a closed imperial crown. It is believed that the jewel was given as a wedding gift from the queen to Lady Anna Livingstone in 1612. Inside the case is a portrait of her painted by a member of Nicholas Hilliard’s studio.
A number of these initial miniature cases were owned by female members of the queen’s inner circle and were signs of allegiance and personal favour.
Lady Anna Livingstone, Countess of Eglinton (died 1632)
About 1612, oil on canvas
Lady Anna Livingstone, was the daughter of Alexander Livingstone, 1st Earl of Linlithgow and Eleanor Hay – the guardians of Princess Elizabeth at Linlithgow Palace. She was a lady-in-waiting to the princess in Scotland, and later in England a maid of honour to Queen Anna. In these roles she had unparalleled access to the queen and princess and enjoyed a privileged lifestyle at court. In this portrait pinned to the left side of her bodice she wears a miniature of the queen in an enamel and diamond case - the Eglinton Jewel. This is one of the few instances where a surviving renaissance jewel can be reunited with the painting that it’s featured in.