Antique miniature portraits of the Tormey-Holder Collection



Italian Artist: Tommaso Saulini



Cameo Portrait of a Mid-Nineteenth Century Boy

Cameo Portrait of an Mid-Nineteenth Century Boy,
Carved into Shell and Mounted in a 15 Karat Gold Brooch

circa 1850

Signed obverse right edge, "Saulini F[ecit]"

2 x 2 1/2 inches

Not all antique portraits were taken with a camera or painted with a brush.
Many a Caesar had his countenance sculpted in marble and, centuries
later (especially popular in the 18th and 19th centuries), many a
wealthy individual had their portrait carved into stone or shell by
a master cameo cutter.

In the field of cameo cutters, perhaps none was more revered than
those of the Saulini Studio, located in Rome, Italy.

This particular cameo is signed “Saulini F[ecit]”. It is believed that this
is the signature of Tommaso Saulini (1793-1864), whom the
British Museum refers to as “one of the most celebrated cameo-cutters in
Rome in the mid-19th century, working in both hardstone and shell”.
The signature could, however, also refer to Tommaso’s son, Luigi Saulini (1819-1883),
who learned the craft from and worked alongside his father in the same studio in Rome.

Though it originated in Italy, this cameo was sourced for for the collection
in the United Kingdom. Coming from England, one imagines that the young boy
was the child of a wealthy English family traveling the “Grand Tour “ circuit
(which would have included an obligatory visit to Rome), as many a wealthy
Briton did in the early and mid nineteenth century.



Similar objects in the Tormey-Holder Collection
(click photos for larger views and additional information):


Cameo Portrait of an Early Nineteenth Century Gentleman

Cameo Portrait of a Mid-Nineteenth Century Gentleman,
Carved into Shell and Mounted in a 14 Karat Gold and
Black Enamel Brooch



Cameo Portrait of an Early Twentieth Century Gentleman

Cameo Portrait of an Early Twentieth Century Gentleman, Carved
into Striated Black Onyx and Mounted in an 18 Karat Gold Surround








Michael's Museum
Copyright © 2014-2024, Michael Tormey. All rights reserved