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antique plaster cameo

Antique 1800s Georgian Plaster Cameo with Philosopher Seneca

Portrait of Philosopher Seneca, Antique 1800s Georgian Period Plaster Cameo, Small Oval Cameo with Neoclassical Art, Vintage Grand Tour of Europe Souvenirs, Victorian Antiques and Collectibles for Home Decor, Ancient Rome History and Arts

Very old and excellent crafted Cameo devoted to Classic Greek and Rome Philosophers, in this case the cameo shows a portrait of Seneca. These are the original genuine plaster intaglios made circa 1820s probably by Bartolomeo Paoletti in Rome, Italy; if not, they are even early pieces by James Tassie. These intaglios came in there original wooden stacking trays and are very clean even if a few have rubbing on there high points. All gilt paper wrapped and numbered as they should be. Measures as shown, around 1 inch approximate.


Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC – AD 65), fully Lucius Annaeus Seneca and also known simply as Seneca, was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, dramatist, and satirist of the Silver Age of Latin literature. His stoic and calm suicide has become the subject of numerous paintings. 


Antique 1700s - 1800s Grand Tour of Europe Souvenirs in the form of plaster cameos. Very impressive small intaglio cameos usually with ancient Greece or Rome thematic. Made in Georgian Era and sold as memorabilia in museums of London at the period. 

Beginning around 1650, young aristocrats embarked upon a rite of passage known as The Grand Tour of Europe, to enrich their education in Art, Architecture, Classic History, Languages, and Classic Culture. With virtually unlimited funds, they traveled throughout the European continent and very specially the Mediterranean area of it, commissioning paintings, purchasing antiques (also forgeries), and taking lessons of diverse kinds usually a mere pretext to enjoy the nice sunny weather and a truly intense social environment. A tour of this nature might include London, Paris, Switzerland, and particularly Italy (Turin, Florence, Pisa, Padua, Bologna and Venice), but sometimes it was happily extended to Greece and coastal cities of the Ottoman Empire. Ample time was spent in Rome to study the classics, then on to Pompeii, the Vesuvius, and Naples and it surroundings. Longer sojourns might include also Germanic and Russian sites like the city of Vienna, Dresden, Munich, Flanders and St Petersburg. By 1840, advancements in rail transportation opened touring to the upper class, even including young women, as we saw in E. M. Forster’s novel "A Room with a View".


Easily transportable keepsakes included intaglios carved from precious stones. Originally used to impress wax seals on letters and documents, the finished impression resembled a cameo. When intaglios became popular with tourists, artisans quickly perfected a method to produce inexpensive copies made from glass paste. Very popular among students with lower wallet resources, the plaster version of the cameos enjoyed a pike of its popularity when museums all across Europe started selling them as souvenirs. The reproduction of fine gemstones cameo treasured by the cultural institutions not only provided income to them but also contributed to the popular recognition the museums and collectors, working as an affordable and easy marketing campaign. Unfortunately many of the plaster cameos never survived to long and having them alive 200 years later is a total act of heroism. 


All measurements provided are approximate.


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