The artist took his inspiration from a ceiling fresco by Guido Reni, done in 1613-1614. This fresco, a monumental work that meisures 280 cm (110 inch) x 700 cm (275 inch), can be found in a palace in Rome “The Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi” built by the Borghese family on the Quirinal Hill. It depicts Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn as she leads the sun god Apollo on his chariot and surrounded by the Horae, in bringing daylight into the world. We added a picture of the original fresco. Guido Reni (1575-1642) was an Italian painter, draughtsman and etcher. He was one of the greatest and most influential of the 17th-century Italian painters, whose sophisticated and complex art dominated the Bolognese school. An artist deeply influenced by Greco-Roman art and by Raphael.
Although we believe the mounting of this cameo to be French the chance that the cameo is also French we think is rather small; we believe it to be Italian. It was not uncommon in those days that specialized workshops just made cameo's that they would export; a process that actually still exists in our days. Since the cameo is made after a fresco it wouldn't make much sense trying to find period specific characteristics on it. Therefore we have to study the mounting thoroughly. Easiest would be if it there were hallmarks giving away the date. Unfortunately they are unfindable. The only mark we found is most probably a master mark, and to find out who owned that mark is like finding a needle in a haystack. We added a picture of this master mark.
When looking at the characteristics of the mounting it has clear signs of the Baroque period. Only problem we have here is that the Baroque period lasted roughly 150 years, from 1600 till 1750 and that we found a French hallmark depicting a ram's head. This mark was in use since 1817.
The piece was most probably part of a tiara or belt. There are braces at the back of the piece through which a ribbon can be lead. There is also a little hole with screw wire at the bottom of the piece, we think that this is the part where the mounting could have been attached to the skeleton of a tiara.
Carved cameo "Aurora" ref.09177-4345
18 carats yellow gold, ram's head hallmark
origin: France - Italy(?)
dimensions: 12.34 cm (4.86 inch) by 6.72 cm (2.65 inch)
weight: 66.10 grams