- Museum number
Ivory box with chamfered corners and a lid ornamented with gold piqué-point with a date and four agates in gold settings, and a central glass cast of of an engraved gem representing Fortuna. In fitted depressions in a secret compartment in the base revealed by a sliding panel are four silver papal coins of Clement XIII dated 1761.
- Production date
Height: 1.30 centimetres
Length: 8.60 centimetres
Width: 3.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from catalogue of the Hull Grundy Gift (Gere et al 1984) no 513:
The subject of the Marchant cast is copied from the painting of Fortuna by Guido Reni in the Vatican Picture Gallery in Rome. The original cornelian intaglio from which the cast was taken was probably engraved by Marchant while he was working in Rome, 1772-88, and is listed with its source in his catalogue (1792, no.XC)). For engraved gems by Marchant, see 831-833. For the coins, mezzo-grosso 1761, Rome Mint, see Mentoni 1973 (IV, p.9, no.30a). The coins do not appear to be a special issue, but they seem to have had little circulation and so may have been souvenirs of some kind, especially as the box was made for them thirty years after they were struck. It is possible that they had been given to an English visitor to Rome in 1761 and had been kept as souvenirs. It is not clear why it should have been necessary to conceal them in a hidden compartment.
'Catalogue of 100 Impressions from Gems engraved by Nathaniel Marchant', London 1792, no. XC. 'Fortune. From a picture painted by Guido Reni, in the Capitoline Gallery of Pictures.'
Text from Seidmann 1987: no 117, Fig. 120.
The gem was originally in the collection of Count Semyon Romanovich Vorontsov, to whom Counsellor Reiffenstein wrote about it in 1778, Vorontsov Archives, Bk. 29, p.312. (I am grateful to Oleg Nemerov for drawing my attention to this reference). Vorontsov, a diplomat who spent the latter half of his life in London, partly en poste and partly in exile, had lived much in Italy in earlier years, where he was an associate of Lord Frederick Hervey's (later the celebrated 'Earl-Bishop'); he was Minister Plenipotentiary in Venice 1782-84. His daughter became the second wife, known as 'the Russian Countess' of George, IIth Earl of Pembroke, who had commissioned Marchant's Bacchante (no.22) for his mother.
Marchant's group is a free adaptation of the painting (copied more closely by Picler), in which the figure of the goddess is shown as emerging from behind the globe, holding a bell-like vessel from a ribbon, from which she is pouring small objects; his figure is slenderer and her legs proportionately longer.
A glass paste taken from Marchant's gem is on an ivory box, dated 1791, in the British Museum, Tait, Hugh,(Gere et al 1984) ed., The Art of the Jeweller: A Catalogue of the Hull Grundy Gift to the British Museum, 2 vols London 1984, no. 513.
Amastini, Collection of 105 Impressions after Marchant's gems by the Amastini workshop, Rome, undated (c.1788) B IX/5.
Raspe, R.E., A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient and Modern Gems .... by James Tassie, 8176.
Cades, Impront Gemmarie, collection of impressions by the Cades workshop, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Rome, 66/404.
Text from Raspe 1791, no. 8176:
'Fortune flying over a globe. In her right hand she holds a crown which she seems inclined to place on her fine flowing hair, by which a Cupid wants to stop her. From the famous picture of Guido. MAPXANT.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Nicholas Harris, 53 Holland Park, London W8. Original invoice for £190 to Anne Hull Grundy dated 17.11.1973, described as 'Ivory and intaglio box'.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: HG.48 (masterlist number)