Ashmolean Musem – Oxford - Catalogue of the Engraved Gems and Finger Rings I: Greek and Etruscan



Ashmolean Musem – Oxford - Catalogue of the Engraved Gems and Finger Rings I: Greek and Etruscan.
DESCRIPTION: Hardcover with dustjacket. Publisher: Oxford University Press (1978). Pages: 134. Size: 11 x 8¾ x 1 inch; 2¼ pounds. The Oxford University collection of Greek, Etruscan and Roman gems and rings is one of the most representative in the world. The Minoan gems, unrivalled outside Crete, and the Roman series are destined for publication in other volumes. The present wor4ks offers full descriptions, comments, and enlarged photographs of the 385 Greek and Etruscan engraved gems, scarabs, and rings, from the eighth-century B.C. to the end of the Hellenistic period. To Arthur Evans, explorer of Knossos, is due the wealth of Geometric and early Archaic stones, including a fine range of Island Gems.

The later Archaic and Classical periods are well-represented, and the gifts of Greville Chester offer an unusually full sequence of the Greco-Persian stones. Charles Drury Fortnum’s great collection of finger rings, the subject of a special exhibition in the home, the Ashmolean Museum, in 1978, includes many of Greek and Roman date. The full range of the styles and engraving on Etruscan scarabs is represented, and particular attention has been paid to the Hellenistic gems, whose styles in portraiture and symbolism inspired the glyptic of early Imperial Rome.

The study of ancient gems flagged in the first half of the twentieth century until recent years, and the two authors of this catalogue have done much in their previous publications to direct the attention of scholars and art historians again to these examples of a prime miniaturist art: Mr. Boardman in his studies of Greek gems and rings; Miss Vollenweider in her studies of Hellenistic and early Roman engraving. Modern methods of photography and styles of publication are called for to present the gems satisfactorily, and this is the first major catalogue of an English collection of mainly Greek gems to complement the new publications of some European collections.

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