- Material: Sardonyx Shell, silver.
- Size: just over 2 2/8" by 1 7/8".
- Date and Origin: Circa 1840/1850 Italy. Cameo is signed by Tommaso Saulini.
- Conditions: A couple of internal natural lines.
Highest quality Museum quality cameo depicting a Nymph kissing Cupid, after a sculpture by John Gibson so called (see picture below) which he made between 1861 and 1863.
Gibson records say that he (his own words) "spent most of the winter of 1859 modeling a group representing what I saw in the street a few years ago, when I made a sketch of the action - a girl of about fourteen throwing up a child and kissing it. This clay model occupied me for three months." The spontaneous expression of affection witnessed by Gibson has been transformed into a group with an elegant restraint appropriate to a Nymph and Cupid of the classical world. This piece was carved for William Robertson Sandbach of Hafodunnos Hall near Abergele and is now in the Nationa Museum of Cardiff, Wales (UK). Another version was bought by the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, who visited Gibson's Roman studio in 1859 and 1862.
This cameo depicts exactly that sculpture, as you can see from the last picture. This cameo is signed "T. Saulini F." which means Tommaso Saulini Fecit "T" stays for Tommaso "F" stays for "Fecit" which means "made by". I really can't say so much about this cameo. Just look at the pictures and they will tell you everything about it. Even the smallest details is visible and look at the lovingly expression of both figures, love is on their faces, mother and child depicted as none could do, only a great carver could do it. I can't be totally sure if the subject if from that sculpture because there is some difference between the sculpture and the cameo but perhaps, as often happened, the carved has given a his own personal trait to the cameo. This cameo gives a lot of emotions to anyone who looks at it. Again it is signed by one of the most famous carver of all the times, Tommaso Saulini, who carved cameos even for the Queen Victoria. A rarest subject masterly executed. The frame is simple silver just to give to the cameo all of its importance which it rightly deserves being a real artwork. This subject is amazing, everything is so realistic. This is another masterly carved cameo. A very desirable collectors piece, rare and museum quality cameo.
A bit of History:
A nymph in Greek mythology is a minor nature goddess typically associated with a particular location or landform. Other nymphs, always in the shape of young nubile maidens, were part of the retinue of a god, such asDionysus, Hermes, or Pan, or a goddess, generally Artemis. Nymphs were the frequent target of satyrs. They live in mountains and groves, by springs and rivers, and also in trees and in valleys and cool grottoes. They are frequently associated with the superior divinities: the huntress Artemis
; the prophetic Apollo; the reveller and god of wine, Dionysus; and rustic gods such as Pan and Hermes. The symbolic marriage of a nymph and a patriarch, often the eponym of a people, is repeated endlessly in Greek origin myths; their union lent authority to the archaic king and his line.
Eros in Greek mythology, was the primordial god of sexual love and beauty. He was also worshipped as a fertility deity. His Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire"), also known as Amor ("love"). In some myths, he was the son of the deities Aphrodite (Venus) and Ares (Mars). He was the one lighted the flame of love in the hearts of the gods and men, armed either with a bow and arrows or else a flaming torch. He was also the object of cult. Eros was often portrayed as a child, the disobedient, but fiercely loyal, son of Aphrodite. In ancient vase painting Eros is depicted as either a handsome youth or as a child. His attributes were varied: from the usual bow and arrows, to the gifts of a lover--a hare, a sash, or a flower. Sculptors preferred the image of the bow-armed boy, whereas mosaic artists favoured the figure of a winged putto (plump baby).