Rarest Cameo King Richard the Lionheart
  • Material: Sardonyx Shell, 9k gold tested.
  • Size: 3" by 2 1/2" only cameo is 2 2/8" by 1 6/8".
  • Date and Origin: Circa 1850 Italy, frame could be English.  
  • Conditions: Excellent, a few internal shell lines. Mentioned for accuracy. One trace of soldering on the back of the frame.
Museum Quality cameo depicting a rare subject, King Richard I the Lionheart fighting against the Saladin. I have had the pleasure to own a similar cameo subject just once in so many years of cameo trade, that one also depicted the King fighting the Saladin but it was completely different from this one. Cameo is very detailed as you can see from the pictures. The carving is so magnificently made that every detail is very crisp. You can see the Saladin's armour perfectly carved, just think to the patience and to the skill of the carver who had to carve hundreds of minuscule scales, to reproduce perfectly the Saladin armour. It is simply amazing.  The gorgeous saddlery of King Richard horse is superbly rendered. You can also see the Lionheart beard and all the details of his face.   It is so much detailed that you can even see the horse's muscles. I'm amazed by this cameo as for the subject which I have never seen before now, as for its carving which is also very relieved. Also look at the Lionheart crown and then compare it with the gold frame design, as you can there are many small crowns assembled all together, along with gold scrolls, to form a magnificent frame This is an outstanding piece that I have been very lucky to find. A true and rarest museum quality piece.
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 asCœur 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.