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Victorian "Antinous" Shell Cameo Brooch

Victorian "Antinous" Shell Cameo Brooch



DATE: Mid-Victorian, c.1860

A stunning antique cameo brooch depicting Antinous, the Emperor Hadrian's lover. Hadrian was introduced to Antinous in 123 AD and became instantly besotted on account of his angelic beauty. Antinous accompanied Hadrian during his attendance of the annual Eleusinian Mysteries in Athens, and was with him when he killed the Marousian lion in Libya. He died in mysterious circumstances while traveling by boat on the Nile, some cite that he committed suicide to protect the honour of Hadrian, while others believe he accidentally drowned. Either way, Hadrian was distraught... he founded the city of Antinopolis on land nearby, he organised yearly games in Athens and Antinopolis in commemoration of his lover, and even founded a religious cult devoted to his worship that spread throughout the Empire.

The memory of Antinous has resonated through the centuries right up to the present day, attracting the attention of the likes of Frederick the Great of Prussia, Prince Eugène of Savoy, and even Oscar Wilde, who made mention of him in two works.

This cameo dates from c.1860, and is executed brilliantly. It's set in an impressive 15 karat gold mount with barley-twist motif around the border. The cameo was carved in Italy, before being mounted as a brooch probably in England.




5.7 x 4.8cm




No marks present, tests as 15k gold



Victorian Antinous Shell Cameo Brooch Victorian Victorian Victorian

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