Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Cartier and Worth - Part VI

I've added the topic "History of Jewellery" to the right hand column so anyone just picking this up should be able to find the other bits.

Cartier is known for the cat jewellery pieces made
for the Duchess of Windsor.

Our lecturer, Susan Rumfitt, was telling us that at the 1925 Paris Exhibition of Decorative Arts, Cartier (the jeweller) displayed his wares in the fashion section, not with other jewellery makers. She said the Cartier family had been quite smart in that they had married into the Worth family and so were able to suggest the bespoke jewellery pieces to complement the couture clothes.

This was the first I'd heard that the Cartier family and that of Charles Frederick Worth were intermarried, but it's true. I found a book on Google (Cartier by Hans Nadelhoffer) that showed a family tree.   Louis Francois Cartier began innovative jewellery making in 1847. His son Alfred (1841-1925) took over the business in the 1870s. Alfred had three sons: Louis, Pierre and Jacques. The brothers are named in a fascinating article in The Guardian, which I'll come back to in a moment. What the article doesn't mention is that there was a fourth child, a daughter named Suzanne.

Charles Frederick Worth is an Englishman who went to Paris and founded the haute couture industry. If you don't know about Worth, his Wikipedia entry is well 'worth' reading. It gives the names of his two sons: Jean-Phillipe and Gaston. 

Nadelhoffer's book indicates that The Guardian is correct that Louis Cartier married a Hungarian countess, but she was his second wife. Louis Cartier's first wife was Andree-Caroline Worth, daughter of Jean-Phillipe Worth; Susanne Cartier married Jacques Worth, son of Gaston. So the Cartier and Worth families were very much 'wedded into' one another.

The Guardian article lauds the genius of Albert in sending his sons out in the world to establish Cartier in other world centers: Louis remained in Paris, but Pierre was sent to New York and Jacques to London. This didn't amaze me that much as I had read much the same about the Rothschild family. The eldest son remained in Frankfurt whilst other sons were sent to Vienna, London, Naples and Paris. I wrote about this when sharing our visit to an incredible house near Nice a couple of years ago. 

Funny enough I have several leopard brooches - costume jewellery I'm sure - that belonged to my Aunt Rita. I had no idea this motif was originally linked to Cartier and the Windsors. I'll have to get my cats out more often. The other thing I discovered is that The Guardian  has a whole host of articles about 'Great dynasties'; you can find links at the bottom of the webpage about the Cartiers. I'm looking forward to loads of reading!

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