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Exhibition: Engraved Gems and the Classical Tradition

Some of CARC's work on ancient engraved gems is reflected in this collaboration between the Beazley Archive Gem Research Programme and Christ Church Library, Oxford.

In the exhibition, books on engraved gems of the 17th to 19th centuries from the Christ Church Library are illustrated with impressions, electrotypes and casts from the Beazley Archive, and intaglios and cameos from private collections.

Although gems are modest in size, gem engraving was a major art in antiquity. From the Renaissance on Greek and Roman intaglios and cameos were collected, observed and copied. Scholars could learn about the appearance of gem subjects through publications, often initiated by their almost obsessive collectors, but also through the expanding production of impressions and casts of gems in a variety of materials. This exhibition will give examples of a wide range of these, from sealing wax to glass paste. It will also show a number of original gems. A highlight in the exhibition is a mottled jasper cameo of a panther from the collection of Count Antonio Maria Zanetti, published in 1750 by A.-F. Gori and then acquired by the First Earl Spencer, at Althorp.

The exhibition is curated by Dr Claudia Wagner (CARC), assisted by Dr Sanne Rishoj Christensen and Dr Cristina Neagu. It will be open between 16 January to 3 May 2013. Visiting hours Monday - Friday: 9.30 am - 1.00 pm; 2.00 pm - 4.30 pm (provided there is a member of staff available in the Upper Library).


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