Allegory of Love

Samuel Shelley, attrib.


Possibly commissioned as a unique love token and painted in sepia tones with subtle touches of red, blue and gold, this striking piece appears to be based on a scene from classical literature. It shows a young couple in a forest, he in a brown tunic with a string of tiny red flowers around his neck and she in a flowing white gown with red sandals and blue and gold bands in her hair. They are approaching the altar of love with Cupid hovering nearby and a brightly burning torch at their feet.

Painted on ivory, the altar and the torch are composed of painted ivory and mother-of-pearl with gold and seed pearl decoration. The miniature is housed in a gold frame with a blue, gold and white verre-églomisé surround. The reverse has a foiled blue glass surround (cracked at 9 o’clock) and a central aperture glazed to reveal the monogram JW on opalescent glass within a border of plaited hair with a small gold buckle. In remarkable condition with some minor seed pearl losses and slight damage to the blue verre-églomisé surround.

Item Ref. 6371

Size: framed, 80 x 71mm