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Ariel

  • Object:

    Brooch

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1840 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Shell cameo set in a gold mount

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs L. M. Festing

  • Museum number:

    M.274-1921

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 20, shelf B, box 3

The carving of cameos from both hardstones and shell was an established Roman speciality. Cameos were often brought home from there by travellers who were doing the Grand Tour (a tour of continental Europe made by wealthy gentlemen, often to complete their education). Designs were copied from ancient gems and from paintings and sculpture. In this case the composition closely resembles a painting of 1826 by the artist Joseph Severn who lived in Rome. The painting is also in the V&A.

Physical description

Cameo brooch, gold scrollwork with shell cameo of a naked youth - Ariel - with a large feather in his left hand, on the back of a flying bat. The treatment of the subject, taken from Shakespeare's The Tempest (Act 5, Scene 1), closely resembles a painting by Joseph Severn in the V&A (mus. no. 1410-1869).

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca. 1840 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Shell cameo set in a gold mount

Dimensions

Height: 6.1 cm, Width: 8.1 cm, Depth: 1.9 cm

Object history note

Shell cameo of Ariel on a bat's back, gold scrollin frame. The treatment of the subject, taken from Shakespeare's The Tempest (Act 5, Scene 1), closely resembles a painting by Joseph Severn (1793-1869) in the V&A (Museum no. 1410-1869). Severn, Keats's friend, spent many years in Rome.

There is a black glass impression of this cameo, signed T. Saulini, belonging to the Paoletti collection and now in the Museo di Roma (inv. 27.809). (Barberini and de Petra).

Descriptive line

Brooch with a cameo of Ariel flying on the back of a bat. England, about 1840; the cameo probably by the studio of Tommaso Saulini (1784-1864). Shell cameo set in gold. Based on an oil painting by Joseph Severn, On the Bat's Back I Do Fly, 1826, in the V&A's collection

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

Barberini, Francesca and Dickmann de Petra, Micaela Tomasso e Luigi Saulini: Incisori di cammei nella Roma dell' Ottocento, Rome, p. 99, cat. 86

Materials

Shell; Gold

Subjects depicted

Cameos; Boys; Peacock feather; Scrolls (motifs); Adolescence; Innocence; Classicism; Feather; Youth; Bat (animal)

Categories

Images Online; Jewellery; Fashion

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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