One cameo subject that turns up regularly is known as Pliny’s Doves, because the lost original on which subsequent copies or recreations were based was described by the historian and polymath Pliny the Elder in his great work Natural History, under the section concerning pavements:
“There is a dove also, greatly admired, in the act of drinking and throwing the shadow of its head upon the water; while other birds are to be seen sunning and pluming themselves on the margin of a drinking bowl.”
The deep admiration Pliny exhibited in his account fascinated the Victorians, who clamored to obtain such a high-brow keepsake of a classic art form.
Our doves are beautifully carved in from a blush shell, with smoothly detailed birds poised around a vessel. Framed in a decorative gold-filled setting, it is decorated with motifs of the Greek key design, the perfect touch for this homage to the Ancient Classics.
Dimensions: 2 3/8" x 2"
Weight: 23 grams
Materials: Gold-filled metal, carved shell cameo
Condition: Very good condition commensurate with age and wear