Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Cameo - Medusa head

Medusa head

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1770-1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Layered agate, in gold setting

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery, case 9, shelf 3

The art of engraving gemstones has been admired since the early days of the Roman empire. It was revived in Europe during the Renaissance, and again in the 18th and 19th centuries. Cameos and intaglios were prized and collected, sometimes as symbols of power and mounted in jewelled settings, sometimes as small objects for private devotion or enjoyment. When this cameo was acquired by the Museum in 1937 it was assumed to date from the 1st century BC. In fact it was made in the late 18th century, when there was a widespread revival of ancient Greek and Roman art. The engraver shaped the stone to resemble an archaeological fragment and gave the face a deliberately antique profile.

Physical description

Medusa, agate

Place of Origin

Italy (probably, made)


1770-1800 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Layered agate, in gold setting

Object history note

Bequeathed by Mr C.H Shannon, R.A.

Descriptive line

Medusa head, cameo, probably Italy, ca. 1770-1800




Sculpture; Jewellery


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.