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Post Lot Text
Prince Stanislas Poniatowski (1754-1833), the nephew of the last King of Poland, after going into exile in Italy in 1791, commissioned approximately 2500 gems in the neo-classical style. The greater part was the product of a group of gem-engravers in Rome (among them Calandrelli, whose preliminary sketches are preserved in Berlin, Antikensammlung). After his death Poniatowski's collection was offered for sale in good faith as ancient gems by Christies in London in 1839. Once it was discovered that the gems were not ancient the sale was unsuccessful, however John Tyrrell acquired over 1000 and had numerous plaster casts made. Tyrrell published his collection in 1841 in a catalogue written by James Prendeville. When he re-published the catalogue in 1857 he included photographs - this was a very early use of photography in an art-historical publication, but only the first 471 pieces were illustrated - and the photos were not taken of the original gems but of the impressions.