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Early Victorian "Perseus & Andromeda" Cameo Brooch

Early Victorian "Perseus & Andromeda" Cameo Brooch



DATE: Early Victorian, 1858

Prior to Heracles (his half-brother and great grandson), Perseus was the greatest Greek hero and slayer of monsters; he got up to much more than slaying Medusa on his famous quest. He' s here depicted with Andromeda, Eros, and the sea monster Cetus. On his way back to Seriphos, having successfully beheaded the Gorgon sister, Perseus travelled through Aethiopia where he stumbled across Andromeda, naked and tied to a rock on the shor. She was being offered as a sacrifice to Poseidon who had sent the sea serpent Cetus to punish her mother, Queen Cassiopeia. The queen of this mythical Ethiopa had compared Andromeda's beauty to that of the Nereids, and the oracle of Ammon indicated that the kingdom's only salvation was her sacrifice. Perseus was clearly overcome by her appearance (hence Eros showing up), and promptly slew the monster and claimed Andromeda's hand in marriage (at the wedding Phineus, who'd been promised to Andromeda prior to Perseus's arrival, showed up and kicked off, but P promptly turned him to stone with his new Gorgon head). I'd absolutely recommend Stephen Fry's reading of his own book Heroes - he gives Perseus the accent of a young country lad from Yorkshire, sort of bumbling his way through his heroic endeavours. Additionally, having just re-listened to this chapter, I'd forgotten that Perseus's mother, the mortal Danaë, was impregnated by Zeus in the form of a shower of golden rain...

This brooch features a large oval shell cameo with the four key players present (plus Medusa, I guess). It's beautifully executed, dated 11th November 1858 on the back, and mounted in a simple 15k gold brooch setting.


Shell Cameo


5.7 x 4.7cm




No gold marks present, tests as 15k gold

Cameo is dated 11-11-58


Good, some general wear commensurate with age including minor losses to the rub over settings

Early Victorian

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