Post Medieval Duke of Wellington Cameo Signed Morelli in Gold Ring - Lot No. 0602

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Post Medieval Duke of Wellington Cameo Signed Morelli in Gold Ring

Antiquities - Post Medieval

LOT 0602

GBP (£) 8,000 - 10,000
EUR (€) 8,970 - 11,210
USD ($) 10,220 - 12,780

Opening Bid: £7,200 (EUR 8,070; USD 9,201)
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18th-early 19th century AD

An onyx cameo profile portrait of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington with 'MORELLI' mark beneath; set into a substantial later gold finger ring comprising a broad hoop with high-relief foliage detailing and blue enamel field, divided shoulders with scooped spur supporting a hollow-formed plaque with scrolled foliage ornament, stamped to the hoop '750' (for 18ct gold) and 'A473'; silver upper face formed as a wreath with inset diamonds. 25.34 grams, 40.14mm overall, 18.85mm internal diameter (approximate size British R, USA 8 3/4, Europe 19.00, Japan 18) (1 1/2").

Very fine condition. A large wearable size.

From an important North West London collection; acquired on the European art market, supplied with geologic report No. TL005176, by geologic consultant Dr R. L. Bonewitz.

Cf. Stefanelli, P.B. Nicola Morelli incisore in pietre dure. in Bolletino dei Musei communali di Roma, VI, (1972), pp.63-72, figs.1-11; Forrer, L. Biographical Dictionary of Medallist, Vol.IV, p.147 and Vol. VIII, p.76; and for other gems by Morelli see: Draper, J.D. Cameo Appearances. in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Spring 2008, p.42, nos.88-89; and Gere, C. The Art of the Jeweller, A Catalogue of the Hull Grundy Gift to the British Museum, Vol I, p.131, no.86.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS (1 May 1769 - 14 September 1852) was an Anglo-Irish military leader and statesman. He was one of the foremost military and political figures of 19th-century Britain, serving twice as Prime Minister. His defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 made him a national hero and a household name.

Morelli, Nicolo (Born Rome, September 12, 1771, died Rome, February 1830) was a noted Roman gem engraver, renowned for his cameo portraits. As Morelli was patronised by Napoleon I - who viewed cameos as the embodiments of the classical ideal – it is perhaps ironic that we are offering this cameo of Wellington today.

Morelli cut many portraits of the wider Bonaparte family, including the well-known parure given by Cardinal Joseph Fesch to his half-sister Marie-Letitia Bonaparte, this suite of earrings, brooch and necklace contained nine cameo portraits of the Bonaparte family.

Napoleon founded a school for gem engraving and in 1805 established a Prix de Rome for this art form, which he regarded equal to paintings and sculpture.

Tuesday 4th September 2018 to Monday 10th September 2018: Ancient Art, Antiquities & Coins

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Auction Catalogue

Auction Venue:
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Mayfair London, W1J 8LT

Viewing from noon Monday 3rd Sept. 2018
Champagne Reception: 6pm - 9pm

Tuesday 4th Sept. 2018 (Day 1)
10am : Lots 1 - 651

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Harwich, CO12 4DN

Auctions start 10am BST (Lunch 1.30 - 2pm)
Wednesday 5th Sept. 2018 (Day 2)
Lots 700 - 1361
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