- Museum number
Enamelled gold pendant set with a sardonyx cameo of 'Achilles Mourning for Patroclus' with an engraved signature and a warranty mark.
- Production date
Height: 2.50 centimetres (cameo)
- Curator's comments
- Text from catalogue of Hull Grundy Gift (Gere et al 1984) no. 903:
According to Winckelmann 1767 (p. 170), the source of this subject is a gem, once in the collection of the Baron Stosch, which was cut for him by the Florentine gem-engraver, Bernabé, who in his turn was using an older, fragmentary gem, then believed to be antique. This fragment had once been in the possession of Cardinal Albani; he had acquired it from a peasant who said that he had found it buried in the Campagna. Albani gave the fragment to the Contessa Cheroffini, and while it was in her possession a cast was taken by Tassie (see Raspe 1791, no. 9237). In order to complete the composition Bernabé added two figures to his gem, taken from a relief of this subject in the Palazzo Mattei, and subsequent copies of this famous gem retain, with minor alterations, these two figures. Winckelmann demonstrated in his 'Monumenti antichi inediti' how the combination of the separate elements was achieved by illustrating the two sources side-by-side (1767, pls 129, 130). The Albani-Cheroffini gem is now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
A version of this subject cut in intaglio by Nathaniel Marchant was in the British Museum (Dalton 1915, no.817): it was destroyed in the Blitz in 1941, but it had already been catalogued by Dalton, who gives the Mattei relief as the source for the whole composition. The gem is recorded in Marchant's Catalogue of Casts issued in 1792 (no. 54), and it can be seen that the two are not alike, but that Marchant's gem corresponds to the version cut for Stosch by Bernabé. In his Catalogue, Marchant gives the Albani-Cheroffini gem as his source and suggests that he supplied the additional figures himself. A number of other copies exist, notably one cut by Siriès, now in the Cabinet des Médailles in Paris (Babelon 1894, pp. 156-7, where the source is discussed). A cast of the Marchant intaglio was made by Tassie (see Raspe 1791, no. 9238), and the later copies are probably taken either from this or from Marchant's own cast in his Catalogue.
The signature has been tentatively identified as that of Niccolo Amastini, the son of the Roman gem-engraver, Angelo Amastini (see above, 870). Maximova was in no doubt that the cameo in the Hermitage signed N.T. MASTINI was the work of Niccolo Amastini (Maximova 1926, pl. I and p. 32; Kagan 1975, no. 95). This cameo has been in the Hermitage since 1813, which supports the date given for his birth (1780) by Maximova, though Righetti gives a date of 1816, supported by a document (Righetti 1952, p. 63). He seems to have been working as a gem-engraver by 1806, as G.A. Guattani, in his 'Memorie enciclopediche romane', (1806 1,) speaks of the 'Young Mastini' as being the son of the engraver, Angelo. It seems most improbable that there should be two families of gem-engravers with such similar names, and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary it is tempting to state that 'Mastini' was definitely used as a shortening of the name 'Amastini'. The variants of this signature using the initial N include N. AMASTINI (on this example); N. AMASTINY (Kris 1932a, no 83); N.T. MASTINI. F (in the Hermitage; Kagan 1975, no. 95). (Charlotte Gere)
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 his favourite Patroclus.'
For an engraved rock-crystal showing ‘Cupid seated on a shield assuming the helmet of Mars, flanked by Apollo’s lyre on the left and a broadsword on the right’, signed on the rim of the shield A T AMASTINI F, see Treasures and Trinkets, Museum of London, 1991, cat. no. 328 (MoL 62.121/46) (Charlotte Gere)
- On display (G47/dc4)
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Trojan War
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: HG.633 (masterlist number)