Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati Art Museum

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw a return to the ideals of Grecian beauty and themes. The lyre, a small harp-like stringed instrument commonly seen in Greco-Roman art, became a popular image in Victorian jewelry. Lyres were associated with the Greek muses, nine goddesses representing the arts. During the Victorian period, the lyre was often associated with Christian themes of divine inspiration and heaven. One writer in 1852 used the lyre to illustrate the ingenuity of the industrial revolution in England saying, “There are wealth and work in our crowded marts—There is speed in our hurrying ways, But men must seek in the craftsman’s arts For the story of these days. Pencil, and pen, and lyre are brought To the engine’s haste and the trader’s thought; For life with the din of wheels is fraught, And again the iron always.”

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  • Title: Brooch
  • Date Created: 1860
  • Location: United States
  • Physical Dimensions: 3 1/2 x 2 1/8 x ½ in. (8.9 x 5.4 x 1.3 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of family of Mrs. W. T. Lenoir and Mrs. J.S. Skinner
  • Accession Number: 1967.249
  • Medium: hair, gold, glass