- Place of origin:
- Materials and Techniques:
Jasper intaglio, set in gold
- Credit Line:
Bequeathed by the Rev. Chauncy Hare Townshend
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
Jewellery, room 91, case 50, shelf L, box 134
When quartz forms as a mass of microscopically small crystals it is known as ‘microcrystalline quartz’ or ‘cryptocrystalline quartz’. This family includes all varieties of chalcedony such as agate, carnelian and sard. Opaque, granular microcrystalline quartz is known as jasper. Chalcedonies and jaspers occur in a huge variety of colours, created by small amounts of impurities such as iron, manganese and chrome. Jasper consists of a mass of tiny interlocking quartz crystals. It is opaque and contains large amounts of colourful impurities. These are mainly red and yellow iron oxides or green chlorite and actinolite. Because of this range of colours, jasper is used for carvings and in mosaics and inlays.
The image of a satyr and goat on this ring is intaglio. This is a technique in which the design is cut or engraved into the surface and lies below it. The jasper intaglio is Roman, although the setting is probably 19th century.
This ring forms part of a collection of 154 gems bequeathed to the V&A by the Reverend Chauncy Hare Townshend, a cleric and poet. Sir A. H. Church gave additional specimens in 1913. He also compiled the first catalogue Precious Stones: A Guide to the Townshend Collection. The first edition appeared in 1883. The stones are mounted as rings, although they may not have been intended to be worn.
Red jasper intaglio of a satyr and a goat set in a gold ring and bezel.
Place of Origin
Materials and Techniques
Jasper intaglio, set in gold
Length: 2 cm bezel
Object history note
Historical significance: A collection of precious stones bequeathed by the Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend (1798-1868), cleric and poet, with additional material given in 1913 by Sir A. H. Church, K.C.V.O., F.R.S., who compiled the first catalogue of the Townshend Bequest, Precious Stones, A Guide to the Townshend Collection (1883; new editions, 1905, 1908 and 1913).
Historical context note
The Reverend Chauncey Hare Townshend bequeathed his important collection of 145 gems to the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) in 1869. Although the collection is not as comprehensive as that found at the Natural History Museum, it is of particular historic interest as its formation pre-dates the development of many synthetic gemstones and artificial enhancements. All the stones were mounted as rings before they came to the Museum, mainly in a series of standardised gold settings, often of the coronet or galleried type. However, several specimens are set with greater elaboration, with diamond borders surrounding the central stone. Some of these were originally in the possession of Henry Philip Hope (d.1839), a brother of the novelist and antiquary Thomas Hope (c. 1770-1831). H.P. Hope formed a famous collection of diamonds and precious stones which was largely inherited by his three nephews. His collection, which included the Hope blue diamond, now in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, was catalogued by B. Hertz in 1839.
Townshend is recorded as having made purchases from it and his acquisitions are noted below. He also seems to have remounted several of his purchases, in whole or in part.
Red jasper intaglio of a satyr and goat set in a gold ring, the intaglio probably Roman, the mount probably nineteenth century, made in Europe
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
Sir A.H. Church, Precious Stones, A Guide to the Townshend Collection (1883; new editions, 1905, 1908 and 1913).
The jasper intaglio is Roman, the mount probably nineteenth century.