Antique: Victorian Fox Head Brooch, Painted Enamel by W.B. Ford


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This fox brooch is an outstanding example of a miniature portrait in enamel from the 19th century. The fox’s head is mounted into a braided gold rope setting in 15 Ct gold. The reverse of the panel is signed W.B. Ford 1872.

There are a number of foxes out there, so what makes this unique? Many from this time period have become worn and damaged. Miraculously, this one is in very condition. Take a close look at the artwork and it is easy to separate the better ones from the course imitations.

This one is a bit larger than most and is in a decorative high carat gold setting. It's signed and dated by a premier artist known for his work in this medium (William Bishop Ford). But perhaps the best part is the fox’s slightly wistful expression, perfectly reflecting the expression of the fox in Abraham Cooper’s original piece (see below).

William Bishop Ford (1832-1922), was a student of William Essex’, and a specialized in the painting of miniature enamels. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1854 -1895.

Pin it to a blazer or add a hinged bail and wear it with a gold chain. Jewelry featuring foxes are being snapped up and converted to rings.

This particular fox head by Ford is after "The Fox" (1817) by Abraham Cooper. An engraving print on paper, reflecting the work by Abraham Cooper (1787-1868), is part of Victoria & Albert Museum’s collection. According to V&A, the print is “…FROM THE ORIGINAL PICTURE BY A. COOPER."

Dimensions & Details

  • The brooch is 15 ct gold (tested).
  • The diameter of the brooch is just under an inch (.9 inches) or 23mm and the diameter of the painted panel is 3/4 inch or 19mm.


  • England.

Period & Hallmarks

  • Victorian.
  • Signed W.B. Ford, 1872.


  • The brooch overall is in very good antique condition with general wear that one would expect to see in a piece of this age. There are a couple of minute points of wear to the painted enamel, but they are not eye visible (only visible via magnification).
  • The clasp is in good working condition.

If you are interested in reading more about the jewelry terms or decorative periods referenced throughout our site, visit our Resources section for additional information.

Find out how to care for your collection of antique and modern jewels: visit our Jewelry Care page to get advice on maintaining and storing your treasured pieces.

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