- Museum number
Gold brooch of a 'Helios' or sun-god, the mask cast in relief with enamelled eyes and the hair indicated by single rows of fine granulation, the surrounding rays bordered by twisted wire. Maker's mark on the reverse.
- Production date
- 1860-1870 (circa)
Diameter: 3.25 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from catalogue of Hull Grundy Gift (Gere et al 1984) no. 953:
The design of this brooch is based on two similar Hellenistic prototypes from the Campana collection, now in the Musée du Louvre in Paris (Fig. 62a and b; see also Clément 1862, nos 353 and 357; De Ridder 1924, nos 962 and 963). The originals (D 3.7cm and 3.8cm) are stamped out of thin sheet gold with a repoussé mask, which is applied so that the fly-clips attaching the brooch-pin are concealed beneath it. The Castellani copy has been slightly reduced in size and highly stylised in order to make it wearable, with the addition of the granulation for the hair, absent on the original; it is a fine example of line-work in granulation in the Etruscan manner. The Museo di Villa Giulia in Rome possesses two variants of the 'Helios' brooch, both of which show the hair in circles instead of lines of granulation.
The collection of the Marchese di Campana, numbering 929 pieces in all, was the largest collection of ancient jewellery in Rome. Not only did the Castellani family gain first-hand knowledge of the collection by acting as agents in the sale of the collection to the Musee Napoleon III, which later became the Louvre, having already been involved in the acquisition and restoration of the collection, but they also made plaster casts of every jewel, enabling them to produce variations of the Campana jewels once the collection had left Italy. The export of the Campana collection is further discussed by Munn (1981, p. 129).
Among the jewels from the Campana collection illustrated by Fontenay (1887) is a piece resembling the two 'Helios' brooches, described as a 'plaque de collier grecque' (p. 153). In addition to the double border of rays, the mask itself is surrounded by rays. Since there is no piece corresponding to this illustration in either Clément 1862 or De Ridder 1924, it appears to be a misunderstanding on the part of Fontenay. Although there seems no reason to doubt that the brooch-fittings on the two Campana 'Helios' pieces are original, it is interesting that Fontenay should describe the piece as part of a necklace. He may have been familiar with the necklaces composed of six-rayed stars, bordered with beaded wire, in the Castellani collection of ancient jewellery, one of which entered the British Museum in 1872 (F. Marshall 1911, no. 1980; this has a triple flower of eight rays in the centre). There are nineteenth-century copies of it by the Castellani firm in the Museo di Villa Giulia in Rome.
The 'Helios' brooch is the only example in the Hull Grundy Gift of line-work granulation by Castellani, but the mastery by the Castellani workshop of line-work, as distinct from pattern and fieldwork, is indicated by the fibula in the Museo di Villa Giulia, which is a direct copy of the Etruscan fibula from the Campana collection with an inscription in double rows of granulation (Clément 1862, no. 282; De Ridder 1924, no. 816). The oblong plaque in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Department of Metalwork, M.636-1884), acquired from the posthumous sale in Paris of jewellery owned by Alessandro Castellani (Castellani 1884, no. 848), again demonstrates their skill in this technique. (Judy Rudoe)
Supplement to catalogue entry:
The enamelling of the eyes was not noted in the original catalogue description.
- On display (G47/dc11)
- Exhibition history
2006 30 Mar-25 Jun, Italy, Rome, Musei Capitolini, Tresors Antiques: Bijoux de la collection Campana
2005 19 Oct-2006 16 Jan, France, Musee du Louvre, Bijioux et pastiches de la collection Campana
2004 17 Nov-2005 6 Feb, USA, New York, Bard Graduate Center, The Castellani and Italian Archaeological Jewelry
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- S J Phillips, 139 New Bond Street, London W1. Original invoice for £1,250 to Anne Hull Grundy dated 29.6.1976, described as 'Gold and enamel brooch by Castellani'.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: HG.734 (masterlist number)