Oval gem with a portrait of an elderly man

Roman
Imperial Period
A.D. 69–98


Catalogue Raisonné

Lewes House Gems, no. 120 (1920; 2002, additional published references).

Dimensions

Overall: 1.5 x 1.9 cm (5/8 x 3/4 in.)

Accession Number

23.590

Medium or Technique

Chalcedony

On View

Anne and Blake Ireland Gallery (Gallery 210A)

Collections

Jewelry, The Ancient World

Classifications

Gems

Brownish-gray chalcedony. Intaglio, set in 18th-century gold ring. The head of an elderly man, in profile to the left. His wavy hair is swept across his forehead, and his jowls are fleshy. There is a small hole in the gem located above the man’s ear.

The wavy hairstyle and scrunched, fleshy character of the face, with its hooked nose recalls portraits of the Flavian emperors.

Provenance

By 1915: with Edward Perry Warren (according to J. D. Beazley in The Lewes House Collection of Ancient Gems: Said to have belonged to a Bishop of Winchester. Bought in Edinburgh, 1915.); November 21, 1923: purchased by MFA from Edward Perry Warren for $ 32,948.27 (this figure is the total purchase price for MFA 23.576-23.594)

Credit Line

Francis Bartlett Donation of 1912