Richard the Lionheart
  • Material: Sardonyx Shell, 18k gold tested, enamel.
  • Size: 2 6/8" by 2 3/8" only cameo is 2 2/8" by 1 7/8"
  • Date and Origin: Circa 1850 Italy, frame could be English.
  • Conditions: A minuscule stress line at ca hours 12.00 which can be slightly felt under fingernail only at its beginning. It does not go through the shell. Visible when cameo is backlit not from front or by naked eye. A very minor loss on the blue enamel at the bottom of the frame.
Highest, fantastic Museum Quality cameo depicting a subject never seen before, rarest. This cameo is after a painting by Abraham Cooper (1787-1868 British). The carver reproduced exactly the painting on this cameo. Cameo is very relieved 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, the hand of the Lionheart who tries to block the Saladin's shield, the saddlery of both horses. You can also see the Lionheart beard and the cross symbol on his armour.  It is so much detailed that you can even see the horse's sex. 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. This is an outstanding piece that I have been very lucky to find. Even the frame is magnificent, totally engraved and enamelled. 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.