View full screen - View 1 of Lot 62. Giovanni Pichler (1734-1791)  | Italian, Rome, before 1787 | Cameo with Apollo as Archer (Apollo Saettante).
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Giovanni Pichler (1734-1791) | Italian, Rome, before 1787 | Cameo with Apollo as Archer (Apollo Saettante)

Giovanni Pichler (1734-1791) | Italian, Rome, before 1787 | Cameo with Apollo as Archer (Apollo Saettante)

Giovanni Pichler (1734-1791) | Italian, Rome, before 1787 | Cameo with Apollo as Archer (Apollo Saettante)

Giovanni Pichler (1734-1791)

Italian, Rome, before 1787

Cameo with Apollo as Archer (Apollo Saettante)


signed Pichler in Greek letters

chalcedony, within a contemporary brooch mount

the mount inscribed and dated: SW to EG / 1787

cameo: 19 by 23mm.,⅝ by⅞in.

22 by 27mm.,⅞ by 1in.

Overall the condition of the cameo is excellent with minor dirt and wear to the surface consistent with age.


There is a very minor loss to the proper left foot. There is a very small original separately carved section to the lower left edge. A few red wax residues (from when an impression has been taken).


Minor wear to the 18th-century brooch mount. Original slightly visible joints.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Probably Samuel Whitbread (1764-1815);

by whom gifted to his fiancé Lady Elizabeth Grey (1765-1846), daughter of Charles Grey, later 1st Earl Grey (1729-1807);

English collection, circa 1980-2021

Catalogo d'Impronti cavati da Gemme incise dal Cav.r Giovanni Pichler, 1787, no. 23 ("D'Invenzione");
R. E. Raspe and W. Tassie, A Descriptive Catalogue of a General Collection of Ancient and Modern Engraved Gems Cameos as well as Intaglios, London, 1791, no. 15194 (impression);
L. Pirzio Biroli Stefanelli, La collezione Paoletti: Stampi in vetro per impronte di intagli e cammei, Rome, 2012, pp. 42-43, no. 224, inv. no. MR 26858 (glass mould);
H. Rollet, Die drei Meister der Gemmoglyptik, Antonio, Giovanni und Luigi Pichler, Vienna, 1874, p. 25, no. 24; 
C. G. Trube, 'Die Emkendorfer Sammlung der Abdrücke von Geschnittenen Steinen Giovanni Pichlers als Vorlage für Grisaillen von Giuseppe Anselmo Pellicia', in Nordelbingen. Beiträge zur Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte, 64, 1995, pp. 50-51, figs 12-13;
This sublimely beautiful cameo is recorded in the 1787 listing of gems by Giovanni Pichler (op. cit.), and described in Paoletti as depicting Apollo shooting an arrow. The cameo appears to be identical to the Paoletti mould and Tassie impression. The high quality of the carving is consistent with Giovanni Pichler's oeuvre.

The cameo compares stylistically and in quality to a cameo with a Centaur and bacchante in the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (inv. no. K-1813), which is likewise signed Pichler in Greek letters and is given to Giovanni Pichler (1734-1791). For the drapery compare with the cameo with a young woman holding a torch and vase by Giovanni Pichler in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (inv. no. 39.22.42). 

Giovanni Pichler was born in Naples and trained by his father Antonio Pichler in the art of gem engraving in Rome. In 1769 he was appointed gem engraver to Emperor Joseph II in Vienna. Pichler's fame rapidly increased and he became a favourite of Grand Tourists. He also trained a number of the most famous engravers of the next generation including Filippo Rega and Antonio Berini. Upon his death in 1791 his workshop was inherited by his half brother Luigi Pichler. He went on to work for the Habsburg Imperial family in Vienna and so impressed the French court jeweller François-Régnault Nitot that the latter tried to persuade him to move to Paris. Luigi received many distinctions later in life including a diploma from the Academy of St Luke and membership of the Academy in Venice, as well as, in 1839, Knight's Cross of the Order of St Gregory the Great and, in 1842, of the Order of St Sylvester.

The Whitbread Provenance

The cameo is inscribed SW to EG / 1787. The initials almost certainly refer to the brewer Samuel Whitbread who married Lady Elizabeth Grey in 1787. Whitbread was educated at Eton College, Christchurch, Oxford, and St John's College, Cambridge. He went on the Grand Tour between 1785-1786 with his tutor, the historian William Coxe. Whitbread met Lord Bulkeley in Naples in January 1786, and was described by the latter as 'a very pleasing young man'. The 10th Earl of Pembroke met Whitbread in Rome, referring to him as 'the young rich brewer Whitbread' and, rather scathingly, observing that his tutor Coxe would lend '[n]either modesty or bon ton' to his pupil. Whitbread returned to England in 1786. He presumably gifted this beautiful cameo by Pichler to his young fiancé the following year as part of their courtship.

Samuel Whitbread later became a politician who campaigned for education reforms and the abolition of slavery. Elizabeth Grey's brother was Charles Grey, later 2nd Earl Grey, who served as Prime Minister between 1830-1834, and after whom the famous tea is named.