Rarest Cameo of Ariel on Bat's Back
 
 
  • Material: Sardonyx Shell, 18k gold signed, there is the eagle head stamped on the pin and on the “C” clasp, which was the French symbol for the 18k gold, enamel.
  • Size: 2 6/8” by 2 2/8” only cameo is 2 1/8” by 1 5/8”.
  • Date and Origin: Circa 1850 France, original fitted case.
  • Conditions: Excellent, some natural shell lines, a tiniest invisible loss to the blue enamel, not visible when the cameo is seen from the front and if you look at the second picture you will see nothing but if you look at the fifth one you will see a little discoloration at 7.00 hours just close to the outside gold scroll, that is the tiniest enamel loss, remind that the picture is enlarged and that is why you can see it. The case is in wonderful conditions for its age, just a few scratches on the lid and a few discoloration on the bottom. It is stamped on the bottom too with the name of the jeweler.  
Museum quality cameo depicting Ariel on bat. Lovely rare and unusual subject matter for a cameo and this one is even rarer because Ariel is depicted standing on one knee and guiding the bat instead of sitting on it like in the more usual depiction which  is after a painting by Joseph Severn. I have never seen Ariel so depicted.  Ariel is the mischievous sprite, from Shakespeare's The Tempest.  The text reads: 
Where the bee sucks there suck I, 
In a cowslip's bell I lie, 
There I couch where owls do cry, 
On the bat's back I do fly.
After summer merrily; merrily, merrily shall I live now,
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough..."

This cameo is outstanding, the carving is more than superb, just look at the bat and at his wings which are truly magnificently rendered. The sense of movement can be clearly seen in this cameo, Ariel’s robe gently waves around his body, while he keeps the bat’s reins.  This is an unusual and rarest cameo. The carving is very relieved from the background and is very white, which means that the shell is of highest quality. Look also at the peacock feather, it is amazingly carved and just give you the idea that it is a real with no weight feather. A sumptuous frame enhances the beauty of this cameo, blue enamel and gold scrolls make the frame really fantastic, the right complement for such a rare cameo subject. This artwork is in its original fitted case by John Turner, Goldsmith and Jeweller to the Queen (Victoria) located in London, 58 – 59 New Bond Street. Everything in this cameo is art and amazingly carved.  All the details are just perfect.  This is another masterly carved cameo. A more than desirable collectors piece, rarest  and museum quality cameo.