Goddess Flora (Property of Dame Margot Fonteyn)
  • Material: Hard stone, 9k gold marked on the clasp.
  • Size: just over 1 7/8" by 1 1/2".
  • Date and Origin: Circa 1870 Italy, frame could be English.
  • Conditions: Mint
Highest Museum quality carved cameo  depicting Goddess Flora. This one is one of most wonderful hard stone Flora I have ever handled. The carving is more than superb. Roses, and leaves in her hair, wonderfully carved.  Look at the beauty of the facial features, she seems alive. All the carving in this cameo is an artwork due to the skill of the carver. Please note that this cameo is so high relieved that really jumps from the background for circa 6/8" at the highest point. Look at the pictures taken from both sides please. The skill of carver consisted just on making the whole silhouette like a sculpture to give to the brooch the three-dimensional effect. The great skill of the carver, appreciated looking at the cameo when backlit, can be seen through the perfect cut figure that evidences the facial features perfectly despite the thickness of the stone. All of this makes this cameo even more valuable and precious.  When you look at the cameo from the right side you can really see how it is relieved from the background.  The simple frame completes the beauty of this cameo. As a added value, this cameo, as I was told by my dealer, a very reliable person, was owned by Dame Margot Fonteyn. Dame Margot Fonteyn de Arias, DBE (18 May 1919 – 21 February 1991), was an English ballerina of the 20th Century, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest classical ballet dancers of all time. She spent her entire career as a dancer with the Royal Ballet, eventually being appointed Prima Ballerina Assoluta of the company by HM Queen Elizabeth II. Fonteyn was born Margaret Hookham on 18 May 1919 in Reigate, Surrey, to an English father and an Irish mother of Brazilian ancestry, who was the daughter of Brazilian industrialist Antonio Fontes.
Early in her career, Margaret transformed Fontes into Fonteyn (a surname her brother adopted as well) and Margaret into Margot; thus her stage name. Her mother signed her up for ballet classes with her brother when they were young. She joined the Royal Ballet (then called the Sadler's Wells Theatre) while still a teenager, after having been trained by some of the greatest teachers of the day, Olga Preobrajenska and Mathilde Kschessinska, both of whom trained under Marius Petipa himself. By 1939, she was the company's prima ballerina assoluta and the inspiration for many of Sir Frederick Ashton's ballets, such as Ondine, Daphnis and Chloe, and Sylvia. She was especially renowned for her portrayal of Aurora in Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty. Fonteyn also worked with the choreographer Roland Petit and later in life, Martha Graham. In 1949, the Royal Ballet toured the United States and Fonteyn became an instant celebrity. Her greatest partnership emerged at a time when many (including the head of the Royal Ballet, Ninette de Valois) thought she was about to retire. In 1961, Rudolf Nureyev defected to the West, and on 21 February 1962 he and Fonteyn first appeared on stage together in a performance of Giselle. It was a great success; during the curtain calls Nureyev dropped to his knees and kissed Fonteyn's hand, cementing an on-and-offstage partnership which lasted until her 1979 retirement. Fonteyn and Nureyev became known for inspiring repeated frenzied curtain calls and bouquet tosses. This is one of most beautiful Flora I have ever handled, the pictures speak by themselves. This is another masterly carved cameo. A very desirable collectors piece, rare and museum quality cameo.

A bit of History:

In Roman mythology, Flora was the goddess of flowers and the season of spring. She was a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, as there were several more important fertility goddesses, but her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime. Her festival, the Floralia, was held in April or early May and symbolized the renewal of the cycle of life, marked with dancing, drinking, and flowers. Her Greek equivalent was Chloris. Flora was married to Favonius, the wind god.