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Post Lot Text
A CARVED OPAL CAMEO OF IRIS, GODDESS OF THE RAINBOW
LATE 19TH CENTURY
With billowing draperies flying toward the sun, bearing a vase, in a rectangular gilt-bronze mount with volutes at the corners applied to an ivory ground, within a narrow gilt-bronze frame.
The composition is derived froma apinting of Iris by Guy head (1753-1800) which he presented to the Accademia di San Luca, Rome, in 1793. Luigi Pichler (1773-1854) engraved several intaglios of the subject (see H. Rollette, Die Drei Meister der Gemmoglyptik, Vienna, 1874, nos. 111 and 112), but the pictorial effect of this cameo is due to the brillaint colouring of the Queensland opal, for the dark brown matrix for the earth makes a striking contrast with the rainbow tints of the sea, sky and flying figure.