- Material: Cornelian shell and mounted with 18k gold tested.
- Size: 2 3/8" by 2 6/8" only cameo is 2 1/8" by 16/8".
- Date and Origin: 1840 circa signed by Tommaso Saulini.
- Conditions: Some natural shell lines.
More than Museum Quality cameo portrait of a little Victorian girl signed Tommaso Saulini. The delicacy of this piece is truly amazing. The subject is very high reliefed, as you can see from the wonderful pictures. I really would have loved to know more on this cameo portrait, who was the girl, how was her life, which were her parents. There should be a wonderful story behind this piece who knows if we will ever have a chance to know it. Surely I'll not stop to search about this lovely, pretty, sweet Victorian little girl. Look at her face, at her hair so wonderfully curly. The great skill of the master carved has made this cameo a real work of art. Don't seem she alive? This kind of cameos are not easy to find and I was lucky finding it. Again if you look at the frame you will note that it is a stunning elaborate one made in massive gold, I think that this gilr was so much loved because her parents framed her portrait in a so important frame which surely she deserved, a precious frame for a precious daughter. A rarest subject masterly executed. This is one of most beautiful cameos 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:
Italian family of gem-engravers. Tommaso Saulini (b
Rome, 1793; d
Rome, 24 June 1864) and his son Luigi Saulini (b
Rome, 1819; d
Rome, 1893) had a cameo-carving workshop in Rome that they maintained successively from c
. 1830 to 1883. Their activities were divided between the production of carved portraits and ambitious compositions based on Classical sculptures, ancient gems or contemporary Neo-classical subjects taken from the work of such leading contemporary artists as Bertel Thorvaldsen (with whom Tommaso had trained) and John Gibson Examples of the second category cut by Tommaso are a large, oval sardonyx cameo (Copenhagen, Thorvaldsens Mus.) based on Thorvaldsen's Cupid and Ganymede Playing at Dice
(marble, 1831) and an onyx cameo (1844-54) based on Gibson's Cupid and Psyche
(1844; ex-Met., New York) that was later copied in shell for the International Exhibition of 1862 in London. Two comparable cameos with figure compositions by Luigi are the Toilet of Nausica
(New York, Met.), which forms the centrepiece of the gold diadem from a set of jewellery in the Neo-classical style designed by Gibson, and Angels Bearing the Body of St Catherine to Mount Sinai
(New York, Met.). For this Luigi departed from the Neo-classical sources from which both he and his father took their inspiration. The subject is from a painting by the German artist Karl Anton Heinrich Mucke (1806-92).