- Museum number
A brooch in a plain gold collet setting with a cornelian intaglio showing a scene of combat between a Lapith and a centaur. Signed.
- Production date
Width: 3.60 centimetres (including setting)
- Curator's comments
- Text from catalogue of the Hull Grundy Gift (Gere et al 1984) no 838:
The style of this intaglio corresponds very closely with a group of gems from the Poniatowski collection. It seems probable that this engraver was responsible for providing the faked Greek-style gems which the Prince collected, possibly including the 'Hector and Automedon' gem, 837. The cutting of the hands, which are distinctly crude, is very close in both examples and the composition shows the same use of strong diagonals in the disposition of the limbs, a compositional device borrowed from Flaxman's Iliad engravings. Carelli is a Neapolitan name and this gem may well have been cut by the collector and dealer, Cavaliere Carelli of Naples. It is quite usual at this date to find collectors who were skilful gem-engravers and dealers who made faked antique gems. Lippold (1922) reproduces a cast of an unsigned version of this intaglio (pl.CXLVII,4) without giving a source, but it may have come, like many of his examples, from the Poniatowski collection.
The Victoria and Albert Museum has a cameo set into the lid of a french gold box with a signature very similar to the one on the intaglio. It has been read as GARELLI and the engraver is identified as Giovanni Garelli (1782-1834). The gems are very different in character, one being an intaglio and the other a cameo cut in bold relief, so stylistic comparison is not possible. No other examples of the work of either Carelli or Garelli have been traced but both were active at the time when Poniatowski was making his collection. The similarity in the signatures is in part due to the fact that both are executed in capital letters. There seems no question that the initial letter of the name on the British Museum's intaglio is C, on the other hand the initial letter of the signature on the Victoria and Albert cameo is somewhat ambiguous, being in the form of a C with a dot inside the letter, which can be interpreted as a G (c.f. Bury 1982, p.22: Case 4, Board C, no.23). (Charlotte Gere)
See 'The faking of gems in the eighteenth century' by Judy Rudoe in 'Why Fakes Matter: Essays on Problems of Authenticity' ed. Mark Jones, London 1992. fig. 6..
- On display (G47/dc3)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: HG.1101 (masterlist number)