Charming and unusual Victorian shell cameo brooch circa 1860 with an eighteenth-century scene of a lady sitting in a country garden next to a river or lake. A servant boy is offering her fruit (?) from a basket while her faithful whippet is sitting obediently alongside her, also anticipating a treat.
The skillful carving displays rich detail: the summery foliage and dimensional urn-topped post behind the stone seat and the water beyond; the finely-dressed lady with one hand poised over the basket and the other holding a fan; the elegant form of the whippet sitting next to her. Both contrast nicely with the slightly plump figure of the serving boy in his coat and breeches.
The cameo itself is in lovely condition for its age and is set as a brooch into a gilt metal or gold-plated frame with approximate outermost dimensions 58mm x47mm (2 1/4" x 1 13/16"). The cameo alone measures about 46mm x 39mm (1 13/16” x 1 1/2”). The frame has signs of wear and minor repair. Although it appears to have lost some elements of decoration you don't really notice this as the brooch still retains its symmetry. It fastens on the back with a hinged pin and 'c' clasp. The pin stem is a bit floppy but stays in the clasp as it should when fastened to fabric. A safety chain is fitted to the small ring at the top.
A super quality cameo, it makes a welcome change from the more typical Victorian rural themes. Best of all, it has a dog. I love to see dogs in cameos, especially when they are as well carved as this one.
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