Material: Sardonyx Shell, 18 k Gold tested, Emerald.
Size: 2 5/8" by 2 2/8" only cameo is 2 2/8" by 1 7/8"
Date and Origin: Circa 1850 Italy.
Highest Museum Quality cameo depicting King Richard I the Lionheart at the Battle of Ascalon against the Saladin. This cameo is after a painting by Abraham Cooper (1787-1868 British). The carver reproduced exactly the painting on this cameo. This is a rarest subject, I have seen only two ones superbly carved in all my long career as antique cameos dealer, this one and another one sold a long time ago, I also had another cameo depicting Richard the Lionheart in battle but the subject was different. This is one is really out of this world for its carving and for the pureness of its lines, the cut is so clean and crisp that is unbelievable, the very clean cut is very visible looking at the cameo, you can see a clear break between the carving and the background. It is not easy to find a such superb piece and with a more than stunning frame like this one. This cameo is three-dimensional, look at Richard's horse leg, it jumps out from the background. Everything in this cameo is stunningly carved, starting from the faces of the two fighters and ending to the soldier under the two horses. King Richard's face is so well carved that you can see on it the stress for the battle while he's searching to defeat the Saladin. The two horses are spectacular, their bodies stretched to support the fighters, their muscles visible while they both rear up. The armour of the Saladin is another work of art, like a snake skin and each scale is minutely carved. Strength and virility come out from this piece that is also surrounded by a magnificent frame, two snakes biting their tails superbly chiselled, two emeralds on both heads and look at how the snake heads are worked, simple outstanding. Cameo and frame are both works of art. Pictures speak by themselves but, as always, cameos are much better when seen in person, if this one is breathtaking through the pictures imagine what beauty is when seen closely. Another incredible work of art for all the collectors.
A bit of history:
Richard I (8 September 1157 – 6 April 1199) was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period. He was known as Cœur de Lion, or Richard the Lionheart, even before his accession, because of his reputation as a great military leader and warrior. The Saracens called him Melek-Ric
or Malek al-Inkitar
- King of England.
By age 16, Richard was commanding his own army, putting down rebellions in Poitou against his father, King Henry II.
Richard was a central Christian commander during the Third Crusade, effectively leading the campaign after the departure of Philip Augustus and scoring considerable victories against his Muslim counterpart, Saladin, but was unable to reconquer Jerusalem.
Although only speaking French and spending very little time in England (he lived in his Duchy of Aquitaine, in the southwest of France, preferring to use his kingdom as a source of revenue to support his armies), he was seen as a pious hero by his subjects. He remains one of the very few Kings of England remembered by his epithet, rather than regal number, and is an enduring, iconic figure in England.