An exceptionally beautiful Victorian shell cameo circa 1870 depicting the allegorical subject of Night and Day. The female portraits are inspired by the classical goddesses Eos and Nyx representing dawn and night respectively. The goddess of Day looks up from the clouds to greet the dawn, the sun's rays just appearing behind her head. Her hair is wreathed with flowers and draped with a small veil at the back.Behind her the goddess of Night is already succumbing to sleep with closed eyes and drooping head. She is more heavily veiled than Day and wears a symbolic wreath of poppy seed heads. In the foreground a dove representing the attendant bird of Day stretches its wings and holds a cornucopia of flowers. A star and crescent moon begin to fade in the sky as the sun spreads its light.
The cameo is exquisitely hand-carved with delicate detail and skillful depth and is in lovely condition for the age. There is a signature on the reverse, although unfortunately I cannot decipher the name.
The setting is probably silver gilt which has darkened with time and wear, but has not been tested. As a brooch it fastens securely with a hinged pin and'C' clasp on the back and measures approximately 35mm x 30mm overall. It is an outstanding, very wearable antique cameo, of a higher quality than most of the Victorian cameos I have seen depicting this subject, even though it is not as large. If anything, this further highlights the skill of the carver whose name it surely bears.
The item "BEAUTIFUL ANTIQUE VICTORIAN CARVED SHELL CAMEO BROOCH OF NIGHT AND DAY SIGNED" is in sale since Tuesday, December 7, 2021. This item is in the category "Jewellery & Watches\Vintage & Antique Jewellery\Cameos". The seller is "duskybrocade" and is located in Gloucestershire. This item can be shipped to United Kingdom, United States, European Union member countries, Japan, Canada.