Book Series Art History (Outside a Series)

The Complete Content Cameos

Martin Henig, Helen Molesworth

  • Pages: iv + 407 p.
  • Size:225 x 300 mm
  • Illustrations:583 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2018

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-57896-5
  • Hardback
  • Available


"This well-illustrated and carefully edited volume is a significant addition to the study of cameos. Offering a valuable corpus of comparanda and parallels for studying the glyptic art of the ancient world, it will delight connoisseurs as well as scholars and become indispensable to any research library." (Claudia Wagner, in: The Burlington Magazine, 161, November 2019, p. 969)


This catalogue of the largest collection of ancient cameos in private hands, represents forty years of collecting these historical documents in hardstone. While part of the collection was on public display at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (1990-2000), the whole collection has never been shown. Several recent publications have made it possible to draw more precise conclusions based on a larger sample of cameos available for comparative study. This increased number of published cameos has allowed studies of the popularity of particular subjects at certain periods, of the development of styles and techniques, and of the relative popularity of some gem materials over time. The development of digital photography has enabled gem photographers to show undreamt-of detail, allowing much closer study of tool marks and even individual artists' hands.




Chapter 1. Precursors to the Cameo Tradition: Archaic and Classical

Chapter 2. Hellenistic

Chapter 3. Portraits

A. A Group of Front Facing Female Portrait Busts in the Hellenistic Tradition

B. Female Portraits

C. Male Portraits

D. A Group of Carved Jet Medallions

Chapter 4. Deities and Myths

Protective deities

Chapter 4a. Two Early Byzantine Mythological Groups

Chapter 5. Dionysiac

The world of Dionysus

The Dionysiac troupe

The Dionysiac cast

Eros: with Dionysus, Aphrodite and Psyche

Maenads (Bacchants)


Chapter 5a A Group of Dionysiac Glass and Alabaster Plaques

Chapter 6. Eros

Eros in action

Eros Thanatos

Eros heads

Chapter 7. Gorgoneia

Chapter 8. Animals

Big cats

Hunting and hounds



Sea creatures

Rats and elephants

Mythical beasts

Chapter 9. Daily Life

Chapter 10. Theatre and Music

Chapter 11. Legends

A. Single letters

B. Harmony/marriage legends

C. Good wish legends

D. Warning legends

E. Exhortation legends

F. Remembrance legends

G. Love legends

H. Longer legends

I. Religious legends

J. Official legends

K. Latin legends

General conclusions

Chapter 12. Cameos


Greater India





Chapter 13. Carvings in the Round

Chapter 13a. Diatreta or Cage Cups

Chapter 14. Byzantine and Medieval Cameos

Chapter 15. Renaissance and Later


A Note on Mountings

Content Collection Concordance

Index of Subjects

Index of Materials

Index of Mountings

Index of Collection Provenance