Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gifts of Grandeur: The Townshend Panther Ring, 1800-1869

Amethyst Cameo
The Townshend Collection at
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Here’s another stone from the important collection of gems amassed by the Reverend Chauncy Hare Townshend. As was the case with all of the stones in the reverend’s collection, this one was set in a ring to showcase the gem, not to be worn. Since this example is double-sided, it’s mounted in a clever gold setting which swivels to expose both sides.

The centerpiece is a lovely amethyst which, on one side, features a cameo of a panther. On the other side, it is carved with a portrait of a bacchante. It’s difficult to say when the stone was carved, but it’s thought to have been between 1800 and 1869. This stone was purchased by Townshend from the collection of H.P. “My Diamond is Cursed” Hope.

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