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forging all the precious coloured stones, the Ruby, Emerald, and Sapphire: a paste of proper colour is backed by a piece of rock crystal facetted in order to give the requisite brilliancy, and then sold to the unwary as a gem of the first class; nor is the deception detected until the wear of some time begins to act upon the soft surface of the upper vitreous layer. Pliny mentions a somewhat similar device of the Roman lapidaries in the case of the Jaspis Terebinthizusa, the three several strata being made up of three separate stones of the best colours respectively, cemented together with Venice turpentine, which is still used for the purpose on account of its perfect transparency.
I have seen tolerable antique pastes set in old bronze rings, and evidently genuine, but hardly ever in rings of the precious metals; as might have been expected, for such base imitations were only worn by people of the lowest class or slaves. Pliny mentions expressly "the glass gems of the rings of the populace," which, when ground up with pipeclay, produced the paint called "annulare." A paste cameo of a sphinx seated, an imitation of the Sardonyx and very well executed, set in a massy antique gold ring, once came under my notice; but without doubt this cameo had been passed ofl' upon the ancient owner as the real gem of which it was so admirable a counterfeit. This antique fraud reminds one of the jocular punishment inflicted by Gallienus upon the jeweller who had taken in the Empress Salonina with some false gems. She demanded that an example should be made of him, and the emperor ordered that he should be exposed to the wild beasts in the amphitheatre. The poor wretch was thrown naked into the arena, the door
manufactured into an antique Sard had been sold at an enormous price in this manner, and vouched to have to a Neapolitan duke, an enthusiastic been recently dug up at Otranto, amateur of gems.
of the den thrown open, when out strutted a cock, and the culprit got off with the fright, Gallienus saying that it was just that he who had cheated others should himself be cheated. Antique glass rings also occur, with the shank of a twisted pattern, and in colour imitating the Agate, the head bearing a comic mask, in relief, in opaque paste of green or some different colour from the ring, copies, no doubt, of the cameo masks in Emerald, and Plasma, and Amethyst so often met with in collections. I once bought one at Rome, the very fac-simile of that given by Caylus (II. lxxxix.). These, from the fragility of the material, are naturally of extreme rarity when perfect.
I shall now hazard a remark that will greatly shock the faith of most collectors, to this effect,—that, of the pastes sold as antique in such abundance, hardly one in a hundred is genuine. In the handfuls of stones brought to the dealers at Rome by the peasants, just as they are found in turning over the ground of their vineyards and gardens in the neighbourhood, pastes never occur without some portion of the old bronze mounting still adhering to them: the loose intagli are always cut on stones, even though most of them are engraved in the rudest manner, and evidently for the wear of the poorest classes. Besides, as these valueless glass gems were never worn by people who could afford rings of gold or silver, there was no probability that they were taken out of the settings and thrown away when the ring was melted down for the sake of the metal, as was the case with the real gems in the times of barbarism. Again, every one who has ever seen a paste in its original bronze ring will be convinced of the all but impossibility of its being extracted from the metal without being broken into fragments. Had pastes been as abundant in antiquity as they are in collections, they would form the majority of the intagli turned up in the ground about Home, whereas the direct contrary is the case; whence we may fairly conclude that any paste appearing never to have had a setting may be looked upon with the utmost suspicion. One of the best antique pastes I have ever met with was one found near Rome in the spring of 1850: the intaglio representing the town of Troy upon an excellent imitation of a black and white Agate, and still set in its massy bronze ring, which was almost entire. Many pastes are produced as antiques which still retain the projecting edges of the superfluous piece of glass, forming, as it were, a thin frame around the buck, which clearly shows that they have never been set at all or intended for setting: all such may be put down, without hesitation, to the account of the fabrique of the amateurs of the last century.
Some early pastes of the Renaissance are occasionally to be met with in settings of the time, which fixes the date of their manufacture: they are very rude and cast out of "potmetal," to imitate the Sapphire. But the pastes of the flourishing period of the same school are often very minute and carefully finished productions, containing elaborate groups, and finished up by means of the wheel: and such have often passed for true antique intagli. One in particular, a group on an imitation of Garnet in an enamelled gold ring of the period, was quite a masterpiece of imitative art.
The abundance of pastes, all styled antique, but due in great part to the ateliers of the dilettanti of the last century, that now fill the English collections, is perfectly amazing, and furnishes another and a most amusing proof of Ovid's remark, that to believe
"qnod volumus credula turba sumus."
Many amateurs possess several hundreds of them at once, and must believe, therefore, that the ancient glass-workers passed all their days in making these fac-similes of gems for the mere purpose of sowing them broadcast in the earth for the delectation of future ages.
At some of the sales of collections of gems in London I have seen cards full of pastes sold at the rate of two shillings and sixpence the dozen pieces, many being as good and as genuine as such generally are. It was therefore an amusing proof of the influence of a name in this branch of art, as in every other, to see at the sale of the Herz Collection the ignorant dealers in antiquities bidding high prices, often some pounds per lot, for the worthless pastes forming so large a portion of its numbers, and which the astute old diamond-merchant, the first possessor, had purchased in former years at the rate of a shilling for every pound realised at the sale.
I have lately examined a large quantity, perhaps above 200 lumps, of coloured antique glass, of the size and shape of the various kinds of gooseberries, some much larger than others, but all cast as much as possible to the same form, and evidently intended to receive an impression from the proper matrix after a semi-fusion in the manner above described. Some of these lumps were of very fine colours, and a few were observable composed of two different layers, designed to imitate the Sardonyx. Although many were of a pure kind of pot-metal, the greatest part exhibited that porous, bubbly texture so generally found in antique pastes. This entire stock, including a few finished works (one a remarkably fine cameo bust of Jupiter in green glass) as well as a few rude intagli in Sards and Garnets, was stated to have been discovered in one deposit near Naples. Unfortunately no dependence whatever can be placed upon these accounts as to the discovery of antique gems imported from Italy, the dealers having always a well-authenticated and circumstantial story at their fingers' ends to give a false value to whatever they may have to dispose of: these embryo pastes, therefore, may either have been collected singly, if antique, or else recently made to order for the antiquity market by some glass-worker; but supposing this statement as to the provenance of the hoard to be essentially true, we should have here a very interesting example of the first processes of this curious manufacture. Many years ago a specimen, beyond all suspicion of forgery, of a globule of paste prepared for the matrix came under my notice, though at the time its object was unexplained; a lenticular piece of dark-blue glass, rough as when cast, and looking like a dark flat pebble, was found, together with a large Carnelian, cut ready for setting but unengraved, and a silver ring set with a rude intaglio of Mars in red Jasper, all deposited beneath a large stone in the ruins of a Roman building in the Broadway, Caerleon.
IMPRESSIONS OF INTAGLI IN TERRA-COTTA.
Impressions of intagli on small pieces of burnt clay of the same form as the gems are not unfrequent in collections. Those discovered so abundantly amongst Assyrian remains, bearing the impress of the royal seal (and in one most interesting case given by Layard, that of the cotemporarv king of