Dating to c.1855-1865, this fantastic antique shell cameo of the Hebrew Sibyl (also known as the Babylonian Sibyl) is truly museum-quality, and that is not a term which I toss around loosely!
Measuring a grand 2 1/8" long x 1 3/4" wide x just over 3/8" tall, this exceptional antique cameo is hand-carved from a thick slice of shell, and depicts the prophetess as a beautiful woman richly dressed in an ornate, jeweled turban and patterned robes, her eyes raised upwards, as if receiving a prophecy.
Unlike most Victorian examples depicting the painting by baroque artist Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, also known as Il Guercino (1591-1666), this Sibyl is far more Classical than Romantic; the Sibyl is not shown in 3/4 profile, but fully faces the viewer whilst looking from signs from above, and rather than being depicted as a sentimental Victorian-era subject, she appears very Orientalized. She sits at her writing desk, her delicate hands touching the scrolls she has already written, but her face turned upwards as if in a reverie.
A herm ornamented with the head of a god is placed in the background; this detail is absent in every other depiction of this cameo subject I have seen. This Sibyl is carved in phenomenal detail and high relief, and appears as carved marble against the light reddish-brown background of the shell. JUST SPECTACULAR!
Best of all, this marvelous work of art has survived the past 160 years in as fine a condition as the most discerning collector could hope for, without damage, repairs or losses! This remarkable survival is in part due to the thickness of the shell; I have held the cameo up to a bright light in the second-to-last photo. The frame is unmarked, but tests to 14k gold. The reverse of the frame displays the original "T and C" clasp with it's silver pin, as well as a loop at the top once used for a safety chain, but now functional; just add a jump ring, and this jewel can be worn as a glorious pendant!
Weighing in at 16.84 grams, this magnificent cameo is clearly carved by a mid-19th century Master, and is one of the finest cameos of this era that I have acquired in my 25+ years as a collector, dealer, and scholar of antique jewelry. If you collect the ULTIMATE in fine antique cameos, this treasure will light up anything you choose to wear it with, from a lapel to a sweater, and is an investment in which you will truly delight! It would also make a wonderful holiday gift for any lady fond of the absolute best in antique jewelry, and will be shipped in a gift box. Do not miss this one-of-a-kind depiction of a classic and rare subject; up to 60-day layaway is available, and USPS Priority mail shipping is FREE!
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Your Specialists in Fine Jewelry and Decorative Arts from Antiquity - 1900. Est. 1987.
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