• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 5381

    Jewels at South Kensington

    15 July 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 13

    A Victorian gilt-mounted shell cameo brooch

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A Victorian gilt-mounted shell cameo brooch
    The oval shell cameo depicting 'Camillus rescuing Rome from Brennus' in gilt entwined tubular mount, circa 1860


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    Post Lot Text

    The scene is after a painting by Sebastiano Ricci which records an episode from Roman history. During the siege of Rome by the Gauls in 390 B.C. the Romans agreed to pay a ransom in gold in order prevent the Gauls from sacking Rome. When the Gauls were seen to be using false weights the Romans complained and at this point Brennus the leader of the Gauls threw his sword on to the scales in order to increase the ransom and cried "Woe to the defeated". The Roman Dictator Marcus Furius Camillus declared "The Romans are more accustomed to deliver their country with iron, not gold". The Gauls were eventually defeated.