Such diplomatic gifts, produced by the Vatican Workshop and traditionally copying paintings, were then an established custom, but it is interesting to note in the present lot, Gregorio XVI moves away from this tradition, commissioning here a new design, inspired by the Antique. The Pope was a sophisticated enthusiast of classical culture, particularly of archaeology and under his patronage three museums dedicated to Etruscan, Egyptian, and Roman and Greek antiquities were established (Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Museo Gregoriano Egizio, Museo Gregoriano Lateranense).
The British Museum recently acquired a Roman emblema, circa 50BC-50DC, (BM 2009, 5005.1), presented by Gregory XVI to Sir Edward Thomason in 1832, with a comparable bronze frame, although lacking the papal coat of arms
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