Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mastery of Design: The Night Cameo, 1820-1830

Italy, 1820-1830
The British Museum

Carved in pale malachite, this gold-framed cameo is carved with the image of a winged woman, "Night," cradling two sleeping children.

This 1820 to 1830 composition is inspired by the marble relief by Bertel Thorwaldsen which was finished in 1815 during the famed sculptors stay in Rome.  The original relief is now in the Thorwaldsen Museum, Copenhagen. 

A cast of the circular gem was cut by Italian jeweler Luigi Pichler after Thorwaldsen's relief and remained a popular motif throughout the Nineteenth Century.

This brooch is one of the many fabulous jewels which were bequeathed to The British Museum as part of the Hull-Grundy Gift.

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