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Benares House Gallery
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Title: Cameo Brooch
Identifier: 2005.1.14a
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: c.1870
Image Creator: Museums of Mississuaga
Creation Date: 2005
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: An oval shell cameo brooch set in a 15 carat yellow gold frame. The cameo depicts a farm girl and young nobleman in a Gainsborough style design. There is some orangish areas on the white carved design and an indent in the centre bottom that seems to be the natural shape of the material. The clasp on the back is made of base metal. The brooch has its original blue box 2005.1.14.b.

History: Cameos are made from stone or shell on which a design is carved in relief. Cameos, like mosaics or pietra dura, were considered tourist jewellery: tangible evidence for tourists of their travels. The technique for making cameos goes back to ancient times but was made popular again in the 18th and 19th centuries by the rediscovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum and the interest theses sites excited. Cameos were worn during the entire reign of Victoria (1837-1901) although it was most fashionable during the 1830ís to 1870ís. The subject matter was often classical in origin although English influenced themes were introduced especially as English manufactures set out deliberately to vie with continental jewellers. Most cameos were made in Italy as they still are today.
Kathleen Agnes Sayers neť Colloton (1907 -1981) was the wife of Geoffrey Sayers. Kathleen, known as Kay, married Geoffrey in 1933 at St. Peterís Anglican Church in Erindale. Kay and Geoffrey never had any children and were the last Harris relatives to live at Benares. This jewellery was part of Kay Sayers Estate and was donated by Geoffrey Sayers. Many of these pieces were originally from inheritances through the Harris and Draper families.
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