The brooch was given to the Museum in 1925 by the daughter of the artist Pasquale Novissimo who died in 1914. Although this brooch is in the antique taste, Novissimo largely supplied the jeweller Carlo Giuliano with Renaissance rather than classical designs for jewellery.
The granulation, or fine surface texture of minute grains of gold on this brooch, was copied from the Etruscan technique. Although the precise method was not mastered by 19th century goldsmiths a similar effect was achieved.
The archaeological discoveries of the 19th century led to a greater understanding of ancient jewellery. For the first time, experts could collect, study and publish works on these intricate gold pieces. Intellectuals particularly admired archaeological-style jewellery, often closely copied from surviving finds, from around 1860 until at least the 1880s.
Carlo Giuliano, a Neapolitan by birth, worked for the great Castellani firm in Italy before moving to London in about 1860. His early work in London closely resembles Castellani's productions in the classical manner. He later evolved a distinctive style of his own, using stones and enamel to create rich polychromatic effects. Carlo Giuliano's first mark, 'CG' in monogram, was based on the monogram of the Castellani firm. His early work in London closely resembles the Castellani pieces in the classical style.