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far beyond any that I had met with elsewhere), having gradually found their way from different cabinets into this haven of unbroken rest. Of these, as well as of that rarest class of them all, the intagli of orthodox Christian origin, a detailed notice will be made under the proper beads.
The searalxi likewise are of especial interest, both for subjects and materials; as regards the latter point, may be noticed one quite unique, being formed out of a Carbuncle of the most perfect quality, and hardly to be distinguished from the finest En by.
As for gems still retaining their antique settings this collection cannot be matched by any in Europe: it certainly surpasses in this department those of the TJffizi and of the Museo Borbonico. Here too, in accordance with the general rule, the artistic merit of the gem is, in most instances, in the inverse ratio to the value and singularity of the mounting. One remarkable exception however must here be noted, a magnificent intaglio of Hercules slaying the Hydra, very deeply cut on a rich Sard, and set in a massy gold ring, of the form fashionable during the Lower Empire. Another intaglio of very fine work is to be seen set in a broad bordered oval brooch, the surface of which is ornamented with filigree arabesques in the most elegant Greek taste. This unique example of the employment of an intaglio as the decoration of a fibula was discovered in Sicily; and both the intaglio and its setting are evidently coeval, and date from the most flourishing times of Syracusan art. The wonderful lion-ring of the Princess di Canino, the masterpiece of the Etruscan goldsmith, has lately been added to the list of these treasures. I observed also a large and massy gold signet with the device cut upon the metal, an undoubtedly authentic instance of this much-forged class of antiques. Here also is preserved one of the most tasteful adaptations of an antique gem to mediaeval usages that has ever come under my notice: a pretty bust on Sard, set in a gracefully shaped ring of the fourteenth century, as appears from the Lombardic legend surrounding the bizzel and covering the shank. Some astrological emblems introduced upon the shoulders of the ring plainly indicate its Italian origin.
The Camei of this collection although presenting none of great importance for their volume, have yet several in their number that deserve notice on account of their beauty and their authenticity. Amongst these may be pointed out as worthy of special consideration a head of Serapis, a frontface, in half relief; profile portraits of Domitian and Julia side by side; and a fragment of an Europa on the Bull. This last, together with the two horses, the remains of a victory in a biga, surpass in spirited design and delicate execution any antique works of this class that I have ever examined. Another, a lion passant cut in low relief out of the red layer of a Sardonyx, a highly finished work of the best period of the art, has its value still further enhanced by the letters Lavb Med. engraved upon the field; showing that it had once formed part of the collection of Lorenzo dei Medici. The stone, set in a ring, has its surface covered by a glass like that of a watch, to protect it from injury: a proof of the value set upon it by its first possessor. A gold snuff box, presented by Pius VII to Napoleon at Tolentino, has the lid set with an excellent antique cameo in flat relief on a beautiful Onyx of several layers; the subject, a young faun riding on a goat, and expressed with much spirit and minuteness. This precious antique was doubtless selected to adorn the presentation box, as being held far superior in value to the diamonds usually employed to ornament gifts of this description. The number of loose searabei of all varieties, which unfortunately my time did not allow of my examining, is very large, and is said to include many of the greatest interest both for subject and for workmanship. The Babylonian Cylinders, as might be expected in the Museum of the nation par-eminence of Oriental travellers, form the most complete and extensive collection as yet made of that class of engraved stones; and the same may be said of the Indian and Persian stone seals lately displayed in the gallery containing the antique glass. I also looked with much interest mingled with amusement at the famous Flora, the Cameo which first brought Pistrucci into notice, having been palmed off upon Payne Knight and the first cognoscenti of his day as one of the finest productions of ancient Greek art. It speaks little for the practical knowledge of these collectors that they should have been thus imposed on by tlus head; for the very first view of it would now cause it to be referred at best to no earlier epoch than that of the Cinque-Cento school. The face, broken off at the neck * to augment the colour of antiquity, is very much under-cut, so as to be in three-quarters relief, and the hair adorned with a garland of red roses, in execrable taste and clearly stamping the date of its execution. In other respects the work is fair enough, but certainly not superior to the ordinary run of the camei of the Italian Renaissance; and infinitely below the expectations I had formed of so highly lauded a performance.
It were much to be desired that at least the camei, toother with the intagli on opaque stones—accompanied by their casts in plaster of Paris—might be exhibited in the public part of
3 On this section of the neck setting, so as to be able at pleasure Pistrucci is said to have engraved to claim the authorship of the "is name, which is concealed by the work.
the Museum, arranged under glass and close to its surface, as is done in the Bibliotheque Imperiale. The work on the transparent stones, it is true, cannot be well examined unless the light be suffered to pass tlirough them by an arrangement for raising the cases in which they are fixed similar to that adopted in the Museum at Naples, where, by turning a screw, the trays can be raised or lowered so as to admit the light at any angle required for the examination of the cutting. If this, however, should be impracticable here from the want of side windows in the public galleries, all amateurs would be well content with the opportunity of inspecting these gems merely ranged horizontally beneath the eye, if at the same time provided with their impressions in plaster.
Mention may here be made of the Townley Pastes, amongst which are some of the largest and most important examples known of pieces of this kind; one quite unique, inscribed with the artist's name, and the ]>onus Eventus already noticed, so remarkable for its dimensions and the excellence and peculiarity of its workmanship. These have lately been exposed to the public view amongst the other specimens of antique glass, and thus furnish an additional argument why their more important prototypes in real gems should be drawn from the obscurity in which they have been so long buried— that is to say, ever since the removal of the last portions of the former Montague House, up to which time the cases might bo seen under glass in the room at the top of the back stairs leading up to the old apartments of that mansion.
This Collection was formed by William the third Duke of Devonshire, during the first half of the last century; and, augmented in its descent to the present possessor, now numbers upwards of five hundred gems, including some of the finest antiques, both in cameo and in intaglio, as yet known to the world. From this treasure, eighty-eight gems of the most beautiful in material and the most interesting in subject, were selected by Mr. Hancock (whom I have to thank for the permission to make a careful examination of the suite), and mounted (with a delicacy of taste only surpassed by the skill of the workmanship) in a complete set of ornaments, to be worn, for the first time, by the Countess of Granville, lady of the English ambassador, at the coronation of the present Emperor of Russia. This parure consists of seven ornaments;—a Comb, a Bandeau, a Stomacher, a Necklace, a Diadem, a Coronet, and a Bracelet. The setting is an admirable reproduction of the elaborately artistic style of the French Renaissance, most carefully enamelled, and enriched with brilliants. The "motive," to speak technically, of the whole design, was the original frame of the portrait of Queen Elizabeth, executed bv her own