Cameos are small art works often in the form of carved gems. We associate cameos with a white to cream figure on a pink to orange-brown background in the most traditional carved shell cameos. While some of the finest work is in carved shell, historically, agates, chalcedony and other quartz are among favourite media for cameo artists dating back to ancient Egypt.
While these days, cameos are often seen as production line jewels with pointy nosed caricatures of an idealized woman’s head, there are still some exceptional cameo artists working today. Naples is the cameo carving centre of Italy, and some of the workshops have volume carvers working side by side with carvers creating unique one-of-a-kind pieces. It is good to see the art has not been lost.
In the upcoming November 24th Dupuis auction found at www.dupuis.ca there is a most interesting and unique cameo. Lot 201 is a “portrait” cameo. This is a 19th century cameo made as a portrait of an individual, and it is offered with a hand tinted photograph of the gentleman, stated to be George Colyer. Comparing the two images, it is clearly the same man. He has the same curly head, and the same inscrutable look. This is certainly a fascinating antique. For more information, go to: http://bit.ly/17EkKlM