Lot 71
  • 71

Italian, 16th century

6,000 - 8,000 GBP
16,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Cameo with Faustina the Younger as a Bacchante
  • sardonyx, set in a gold pendant mount
  • cameo: 3mm., 1 3/16 in. 
    suspended: 55mm., 2 3/16 in. 


Probably the collection of the Gonzaga Dukes of Mantua from the 16th century;
from whom acquired by Daniel Nys (born 1572-circa 1640) circa 1625-1635;
certainly Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel (1585-1646) by circa 1638;
by descent to his grandson Henry Howard, 6th Duke of Norfolk (1628-1684);
thence to his brother Henry Howard, 7th Duke of Norfolk (1655-1701);
Henry Mordaunt, 2nd Earl of Peterborough (1621-1697), by October 1690;
by descent to Lady Mary Mordaunt (divorced wife of Henry Howard 7th Duke of Norfolk);
by whom bequeathed to her second husband Sir John Germain (1650-1718), 1710;
by whom bequeathed to his second wife Lady Elizabeth Germain (1680-1769), Knole House, Kent;
by whom bequeathed to the Hon. Mary Beauclerk on the occasion of her marriage to Lord Charles Spencer (1740-1820), 1762;
by whom bequeathed to George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough (1739-1817), Blenheim Palace Oxfordshire; 
thence by family descent to John Winston Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough (1822-1883), Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire;
David Bromilow, Bitteswell Hall, Lutterworth, until 1898;
by descent to Julia Harriet Mary Jary (née Bromilow);
Christie, Manson and Woods London, Catalogue of the Marlborough Gems: Being a Collection of Works in Cameo and Intaglio Formed by George, 3rd Duke of Marlborough, 27 June 1899, lot 474;
where acquired by 'Cutler' for £7.10S


Arundel Catalogues, 18th century, B 10 (1) (ref. Boardman, op. cit., p. 39, no. 13);
Gemmarum antiquarum delectus ex praestantioribus desumptus, quae in dactyliothecis ducis Marlburiensis conservantur. Choix de pierres antiques gravées, du Cabinet du Duc de Marlborough, London, 1780, 1783, 2, no. 14;
M. H. Nevil Story-Maskelyne, The Marlborough Gems, Oxford, 1870, no. 474;
S. Reinach, Pierres gravées des Collections Marlborough et d'Orléans, Paris, 1895, pl. 114 'Libera';
J. Boardman, D. Scarisbrick, C. Wagner and E. Zwierlein-Diehl, The Marlborough Gems formerly at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, Oxford, 2009, p. 39, no. 13

Catalogue Note

This elegant 16th-century cameo almost certainly heralds from the celebrated Gonzaga collection of Mantua, one of the most distinguished Renaissance provenances. Along with the following lot, the intaglio depicting Nike, it was subsequently one the Marlborough Gems, which, along with the Northumberland Gems, was one of the two great private collections of glyptics in Britain. The cameo has been compared with the cast of the impression in the Beazley archive and has been identified as the same. It represents Faustina the Younger, daughter of Antoninus Pius and wife of Marcus Aurelius, who was deified after her death in AS 175/6. The carving is particularly fine.

Sotheby's would like to thank Dr Claudia Wagner of the Classical Art Research Centre, University of Oxford, for kindly providing access to the 19th-century impression for this lot. Special thanks are due to Diana Scarisbrick FSA for her kind assistance in cataloguing this lot.