Ring thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

Ring

ca. 1825 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The bezel of this ring is set with a carved onyx cameo of a cat. Gem engraving and hardstone carving had seen a great revival in interest in the second half of the eighteenth century, in part encouraged by the French Emperor Napoleon I. In 1804, the prestigious Prix de Rome art competition had been opened up to engravers. The winner was allowed to spend five years studying in Rome at the expense of the French government.

Enthusiastic collectors put together cabinets of gems and engraved stones. This cameo has been reset in a ring by the Reverence Chauncey Hare Townshend (1798-1868). Townshend was a poet who was befriended by Robert Southey, William and Dorothy Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge. He was a friend of Charles Dickens and shared his interest in spiritualism and mesmerism. Dickens dedicated his novel 'Great Expectations' to him and gave him the manuscript copy as well as his crystal ball.

He left his collection of gems and minerals, over 200 pieces of jewellery and a large collection of prints and oil paintings to the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum). A catalogue of the gemstones was published by A.H. Church in 1905.



object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gold with a layered agate cameo
Brief Description
Gold ring with a layered onyx cameo depicting a crouching cat in a 'Roman' setting, possibly made in England, ca.1825.
Physical Description
Gold ring with a shaped oval bezel and a layered agate cameo depicting a crouching cat in a 'Roman' setting.
Dimensions
  • Height: 2.5cm
  • Width: 2.1cm
  • Depth: 0.9cm
Credit line
Bequeathed by the Rev. Chauncy Hare Townshend
Object history
In one of the standardised settings in the bequest made by the Rev. Chauncey Hare Townshend
Subjects depicted
Summary
The bezel of this ring is set with a carved onyx cameo of a cat. Gem engraving and hardstone carving had seen a great revival in interest in the second half of the eighteenth century, in part encouraged by the French Emperor Napoleon I. In 1804, the prestigious Prix de Rome art competition had been opened up to engravers. The winner was allowed to spend five years studying in Rome at the expense of the French government.



Enthusiastic collectors put together cabinets of gems and engraved stones. This cameo has been reset in a ring by the Reverence Chauncey Hare Townshend (1798-1868). Townshend was a poet who was befriended by Robert Southey, William and Dorothy Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge. He was a friend of Charles Dickens and shared his interest in spiritualism and mesmerism. Dickens dedicated his novel 'Great Expectations' to him and gave him the manuscript copy as well as his crystal ball.



He left his collection of gems and minerals, over 200 pieces of jewellery and a large collection of prints and oil paintings to the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum). A catalogue of the gemstones was published by A.H. Church in 1905.



Collection
Accession Number
1811-1869

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record createdNovember 7, 2005
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