Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Intaglio - Leopardess


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 150 BC (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraved gemstone, dark green jasper in gold ring.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Richard Cockle Lucas

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The art of engraving gemstones can be traced back to ancient Greece in the 8th century BC and earlier. Techniques passed down to the Egyptians and then to the Romans. There were major revivals of interest in engraved gems in Europe during the Byantine era, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and again in the 18th and 19th centuries. At each stage cameos and intaglios, these skillful carvings on a minute scale, were much prized and collected, sometimes as symbols of power mounted in jewelled settings, sometimes as small objects for private devotion or enjoyment. This sophisticated and naturalistic engraving of a leopardess has been dated to around 150 BC.

Physical description

Horizontal oval intaglio. Dark green jasper. Depicting a leopardess walking in profile to the right, beneath a tree. In a gold ring.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)


ca. 150 BC (made)



Materials and Techniques

Engraved gemstone, dark green jasper in gold ring.


Width: 13 mm, Height: 11 mm

Object history note

Given by the British neo-classical sculptor Richard Cockle Lucas in 1865, together with twenty-two ivory carvings, twelve waxes, sixteen other gems, a marble group and a portrait in plaster.

Historical context note

Engraved gemstones of all dates were widely collected in Italy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Many were brought back by British Grand Tourists, and important collections were formed.

Descriptive line

Intaglio, oval jasper, variety 'bloodstone', set in a 19th century gold ring, depicting a leopardess, Italy, antique Graeco-Roman, ca. 150 BC

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Inventory of Art Objects acquired in the Year 1865. Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol. 1. London : Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 30
Machell Cox, E., Victoria & Albert Museum Catalogue of Engraved Gems. London, Typescript, 1935, Part 1, pp. 58-9

Production Note

Attribution note: Dark green and opaque jasper with red inclusions.


Heliotrope; Microquartz; Gemstone; Jasper; Gold


Gem engraving

Subjects depicted



Jewellery; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.