- Museum number
Plaster cast only of the intaglio; sard; Achilles mourning for Patroclus; on left, Achilles, partially draped with mantle, seated to right, supporting head in right hand; before him lies Antilochus, leaning on column and looking down; behind first figure stands a woman in Phrygian cap and soldier with shield, faces expressing grief; altar behind; signed; in plain gold ring.
- Production date
- 18thC (original)
Length: 1.10 inches
- Curator's comments
- Text from Dalton 1915, Catalogue of Engraved Gems: no. 817.
In a plain gold ring. Reproduced by Raspe-Tassie, no. 9238 (cf. Raspe 9237)
This gem copies a well-known Renaissance cameo, itself copying a relief in the Palazzo Mattei (Winckelmann, Monumenti antichi inediti spiegati ed illustrati, Rome 1767, ii, ch. xi, and fig. 129), though the female figure appears to be an addition of the eighteenth century.
The same subject is found on an intaglio by Siriès in the Cabinet des Médailles at Paris, formerly in the Pichon Collection (E. Babelon, Hist. de la gravure sur gemmes en France, p. 156, and pl. xii, fig. 8), and on two gems in the Hermitage at St. Petersburg (E. IV, 3, 16, 17).
One of Tassie's impressions at Munich is reproduced by Furtwängler (Antike gemmen, pl. lxvii), who suggests Orestes and Pylades as the possible subject.
For the gem-engraver Marchant, see Introduction, p. vii and cf. nos. 584, 694, 700, 711, 742, 818, 889, 1117.
Supplementary information to Dalton 1915.
'Catalogue of 100 Impressions from Gems engraved by Nathaniel Marchant', London 1792, no. LIV, 'The grief of Achilles upon the death of Patroclus. See Hom. Il. lib. xviii. From a Cameo of Greek sculpture in the possession of Monsignor Ferretti, which formerly belonged to the Contessa Charofini; the Cameo has been broken in the middle, and is incomplete: therefore part of the intaglio has been supplied to correspond with the subject'.
Marchant supplied right hand figure. The cameo later in Albani Collection, now in Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The relief of this subject from the Palazzo Mattei does not correspond and has several more attendant figures (see HG Cat. 903, a version by Amastini).
Although the original was destroyed during the war, the Museum has a Tassie reproduction: 1873.0502.44. and also a plaster cast.
See J. Rudoe 'Engraved gems: the lost art of antiquity', in Kim Sloan with Andrew Burnett (eds), 'Enlightenment, Discovering the World in the Eighteenth Century', London 2003, p. 137. fig. 121.
Text from Seidmann 1987: no 2. Fig. 11.
Originally in the collection of the Revd Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode, a wealthy collector of antiquities of a retiring disposition; his only portrait was drawn for Lavinia, Lady Spencer, by Marchant's friend Edridge, for as a fellow bibliophile he frequented Spencer House. 'Mild Cracherode', who never visited Rome, (he hardly ever left London), may have been in touch with Marchant by correspondence or through Charles Townley. He bought Matthew Duane's Bacchus and Baccante while Marchant was in Italy and after his return saw a great deal of him: the two men visited Townley almost daily (information from Gerard Vaughan). He owned several of Marchant's works, that under discussion being the most highly valued of all his gems in the inventory drawn up after his death. His six gems by Marchant, bequeathed to the British Museum, formed the core of the largest securely provenanced holding of his gems in a public collection. On the once celebrated fragmentary cameo, now Boston Museum of Fine Arts, see Beazley, J D, The Lewes House Collection of Ancient Gems, Oxford 1920, pp. 107-11, no.132; and life (introduction to Seidmann 1987) p.13 and note 53. The cameo, now considered to be of Renaissance origin, was frequently copied. The Florentine engraver Berneabé based his reconstruction for Baron Stosch (Winckelmann, Description des pierres gravées du feu Baron de Stosch, Florence 1760, no.246) more closely than did Marchant on the relief in Palazzo Mattei (Winckelmann, Monumenti antichi inediti, Rome 1767, no.130), which contains several more attendant figures. Marchant's gem, widely available in impressions, was much copied in turn; although the reconstruction by Louis Siriès (Babelon, Ernest, Histoire de la gravure sur gemmes en France, Paris 1902, pl. XII no. 8) is similar, Niccolo Amastini's cameo copy in the British Museum (Tait [Gere et al], The Art of theJeweller, London 1984, no. 903) is more likely to have been based on Marchant's which was included in the Amastini collection of his impressions.
Amastini, Collection of 105 Impressions after Marchant's gems by the Amastini workshop, Rome, undated (c.1788) B V/2.
Raspe, R.E., A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient and Modern Gems .... by James Tassie, 9238.
Cades, Impront Gemmarie, collection of impressions by the Cades workshop, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Rome, 67/434.
A sulphur from a version of this gem, octagonal in shape, is in an early Tassie collection at Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum.
Text from Raspe 1791, no. 9237:
'Cameo. Countess Caruffini at Rome. fragment. Antilochus, the son of Nestor, announces to Achilles the death and fate of Patroclus'.,
Text from Raspe 1791, no. 9238:
'Sardonyx. Mr Cracherode. Ditto, to which the artist has added the figure of a young and beautiful companion of Achilles, probably one of those young girls who, according to Homer, bewailed the death of Patroclus. MARCHANT F. ROMAE.'
- Not on display
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Trojan War
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Original destroyed in an air raid in 1941
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: CRA.83 (Cracherode Collection)