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Enameled_Bee…'s loves124 of 187Cicada Plique-à-Jour Silver Brooch Rare, approx. 1920 FranceZoltan White and Co Ring
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    Posted 4 years ago

    (15 items)

    I purchased this hardstone cameo set in an archeological revival style gold locket more than a year ago and have been trying to learn more about it ever since. While I have yet to find another that resembles it closely, I now believe the cameo itself is at least 100 years older than the setting. To me, it looks highly similar to the head on this statuette of the Roman Emperor Domitian by the German Baroque lapidary Johann Bernhard Schwarzeburger (also Schwartzenburger):

    This is hardly enough evidence to assert the cameo is by Schwarzeburger or any of his three sons, but in his Biographical Dictionary of Medallists, which includes gem engravers, Leonard Forrer does write that Schwarzeburger 'is noted for his cameos.' An earlier source also says he made 'engraved gems in relief', i.e., cameos. It seems likely this piece, if not by the Schwarzeburgers, is by a contemporary. (If anyone can find an example on the Internet of a Schwartze[n]burger cameo, please send a link. I can find only statuettes of Emperors Domitian, Titus & Vespasian.)

    The mystery of his origins remains, but I no longer have to refer to this guy as The Barbarian, the mystery of his identity has finally been solved: he is clearly after the widely reproduced engraving of the Emperor Nero by Italian Baroque artist Antonio Tempesta. Another argument for placing the cameo back to the first half of the 18th century is the choice of this subject. Later in the century neoclassicism took hold; tastemakers began to scorn the Baroque and Rococo.

    Antique lockets are often empty. Inside this one? A sepia photograph of a baby.

    Afterthought: Why, oh why, didn't I give this the title Finding Nero?

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    1. Karenoke Karenoke, 4 years ago
      I'm also looking forward to learning more about this. Good luck!
    2. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 4 years ago
      Thanks Karenoke, Counting on all of you to keep an eye out - it took many hours of research just to get this much!
    3. Lamplover78 Lamplover78, 4 years ago
      Beautiful piece! Interesting details thanks for sharing!
    4. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 4 years ago
      Thank you, Lamplover78. I imagine he will not be to everyone's taste, but I like him.
    5. kiwipaul kiwipaul, 4 years ago
      Great sleuthing!
    6. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 4 years ago
      Hello kiwipaul - Think of you every time I see an Iris bearing water of the Styx piece. This was a tough one, since one tends to assume a cameo & its setting are contemporaries & also because this is not the way I'm used to Roman emperors looking. Have to admit, luck played a significant part in successfully IDing him.
    7. Gillian, 3 years ago

      Made your link live, hope that's okay.

    8. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 3 years ago
      Thanks so much. This one was my first post. If there is any way to make a hyperlink in the original text, I haven't figured it out yet, so thanks for that & for pointing out to me that in future I can add any relevant links myself in the comments box. :)
    9. Gillian, 3 years ago
      You are very welcome.
    10. Agram.m Agram.m, 3 years ago
      I love this classic cameo.
    11. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 3 years ago
      I wasn't going to bid on him, but he made me do it!
    12. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 2 years ago
      The link to the SKD seems to be no longer functional. Schwartzeburger's statuette of the Emperor Domitian can be seen here:
    13. cameosleuth cameosleuth, 1 year ago
      I now have a new link for the SKD's site, which I added to the main description. Here it is as a hyperlink:

      A better bit of news from the Green Vault for today.

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