Jeweled Plaque

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Silver-gilt, gold enamel and open work, set with baroque pearls, emeralds, diamonds and rubies.
18 1/4 x 13 1/4 inches (464 x 337 mm)
AZ153
Inscription: 
"Treasure of Prague" [?]
Provenance: 
Baron Adolphe de Rothschild (1823-1900), Paris; Baron Maurice de Rothschild (1881-1957), Paris (before 1890); purchased through Jacques Seligmann by J. Pierpont Morgan on 8 November 1909.
Notes: 

Once thought to be a sixteenth century work of the Imperial Hapsburg workshop, this bookcover is now believed a 19th century forgery.
In the center, supported by a crowned gold eagle, is a shield bearing the arms of Spain, from which is suspended a collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece.
When Pierpont Morgan purchased this jeweled plaque, it was originally thought to be a bookcover that once belonged to Philip II King of Spain (1527-1598). It is now believed to be a nineteenth century forgery. After his father's death, J.P. Morgan, Jr. determined the object's inauthenticity with the help of scholars who expressed doubtful concern over the style of metalwork and treatment of the imperial eagle. J.P. Morgan, Jr. wrote to the previous owner, Maurice de Rothschild in an attempt to return the object, but was unsuccessful. Created to evoke the imperial style of the Hapsburg Dynasty, the cover is adorned with baroque pearls, emeralds, diamonds and rubies inlaid with intricate gold and silver metal work. At the center, supported by a crowned gold eagle, is a shield bearing the arms of Spain, from which is suspended a collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

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