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Roman

Cupid crowning Venus (?) Cameo: 1st c. BC; Mount: c. 1660

RCIN 65741

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A naked woman is seated on the ground with a garment swathed around her right leg and beneath her. Her face is turned to the viewer but her hands are raised towards a naked child who holds a wreath out to her in his left hand. She seems to be seated on a bed or mattress patterned with an upright and dots. The subject may be a wingless cupid, crowning Venus/Aphrodite. The mount has been described as ‘a pretty pendant ornament of enamelled gold; probably English work of the 17th century, mounting an antique cameo of minor importance of the third century’. It seems possible that the floral mount originally contained another image and that the scalloped frame was inserted to adjust the setting of the present cameo to an already existing mount. The colours of the floral wreath suggest French workmanship of the 1660s. The entwined hearts in a victory wreath on the reverse of the pendant, undoubtedly depict an amatory device. The reverse of the pendant underlines the imagery and message of love of the cameo with Cupid crowning Venus. Text adapted from Ancient and Modern Gems and Jewels in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, London, 2008