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Victorian Lava Antique Cameo - Cherub & Dog

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For wealthy Victorians traversing “The Grand Tour of Europe” was viewed as a means of furthering education and broadening one’s exposure to the cultural fine arts. One of the highlights of The Tour was a visit to the ruins at Pompeii and the purchase of a souvenir made from the lava of Mount Vesuvius.

Framed in silver with appointments at each cardinal position, this treasure is fitted as a cameo brooch featuring a high relief sculpture of putty colored lava. It is finely carved in the manner closely resembling the style of Bertel Thorvaldsen—held as one of the greatest artists of the 19th century and oft compared to the master Antonio Canova. Embodying the style of the neoclassical period is a simple scene depicting the Roman god Cupid embracing a canine. The symbolism of this sentimental jewel is clear: loyalty & fidelity in the caress of love.

Measures over 1-3/4 inches in length by 1-5/8 inches in width (4.7 cm long by 4.2 cm wide). Pin mechanism, C clasp and pin stem are all original. Very good condition with warm patina to the silver mount. There is a natural hairline fissure inherent to the material in the dog’s body (only on the surface and not does impact on the integrity of the piece). Date to circa 1840.

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