Cameo set into a ring [Hermaphrodite]

Object Details

Title:

Cameo set into a ring [Hermaphrodite]

Artist/Maker(s):

Possibly by Protarchos

Attributed to Protarchos

Culture:

Roman

Date:

gem 150 - 100 B.C.; ring modern

Medium:

Sardonyx set in modern gold ring

Dimensions:

Other: 1.8 cm (11/16 in.)

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This cameo depicts a hermaphrodite, a sensual being who is both male and female. Here, the hermaphrodite is decidedly feminine. Seated on a cylindrical object, she opens her garment, and by doing so, her bisexuality is revealed: she has breasts and a penis.

According to the version of the legend prevalent in the Roman era, the first hermaphrodite was the Hermaphroditus, who, as his name implies, was the son of the messenger-god Hermes and the love-goddess Aphrodite. Hermaphroditus's ill-fated encounter with the nymph Salmacis, who observed him bathing in her spring, led to his transformation into a dual-gender being, and prompted him to wish that all men who bathed in that spring should suffer a similar fate.

The gold ring into which this cameo is set is modern.

Provenance
- 1646

Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel, 1585 - 1646 (Arundel House, London, England), by inheritance to his wife, Aletheia Talbot Howard, 1646.

1646 -

Aletheia Talbot Howard, English, 1585 - 1654 (Arundel House, London, England), by gift to her son, Henry Frederick Howard.

- 1652

Henry Frederick Howard, 22nd Earl of Arundel, English, 1608 - 1652 (Arundel House, London, England), by inheritance to his son, Henry Howard, 1652.

1652 - 1684

Henry Howard, 6th Duke of Norfolk, 1628 - 1684 (Arundel House, London, England), by inheritance to his second wife, Jane Bickerton Howard, 1684.

1684 -

Jane Bickerton Howard, English, 1643 - 1693 (Arundel House, London, England), sold to Henry Mordant, father-in-law of her stepson Henry Howard, son of Henry Howard by his first wife Anne Somerset.

by 1690 - 1697

Henry Mordant, 2nd Earl of Peterborough, English, 1621 - 1697 (Drayton House, Northamptonshire, England), by inheritance to his daughter Mary Mordant, wife of Henry Howard by her first marriage, the son of Henry Howard and Anne Somerset, 1697.

1697 - 1705

Lady Mary Mordant, English, 1659 - 1705 (Drayton House, Northamptonshire, England), by inheritance to her second husband, John Germain, 1705.

1705 - 1718

Sir John Germain, English, 1650 - 1718 (Drayton House, Northamptonshire, England), by inheritance to his second wife, Elizabeth Germain, 1718.

1718 - 1762

Lady Elizabeth Germain, English, 1680 - 1769 (Knole House, Kent, England), by gift to her great-niece, Mary Beauclerk, on the occasion of her marriage to Charles Spencer, 1762.

1762 -

Hon. Mary Beauclerk Spencer, English, 1743 - 1812

and Lord Charles Spencer, English, 1740 - 1820, by gift to his elder brother, George Spencer.

by 1765 - 1817

George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough, 1739-1817 (Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England), by inheritance to his eldest son, George Spencer-Churchill, 1817.

1817 - 1840

George Spencer-Churchill, 5th Duke of Marlborough, 1766-1840 (Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England), by inheritance to his eldest son, George Spencer-Churchill, 1840.

1840 - 1857

George Spencer-Churchill, 6th Duke of Marlborough, 1793-1857 (Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England), by inheritance to his eldest son, John Winston Spencer-Churchill, 1857.

1857 - 1875

John Winston Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough, 1822-1883 (Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England) [sold, The Marlborough Gems: a collection of works in cameo and intaglio formed by George, Third Duke of Marlborough, Christies, London, June 28, 1875, lot 136, to David Bromilow.]

1875 - 1898

David Bromilow, 1809 - 1898 (Bitteswell Hall, Leicestershire, England), by descent to his daughter, Mrs. Julia Hariet Mary Jary, 1898.

1898 - 1899

Mrs. Julia Harriet Mary Jary (Bitteswell Hall, Leicestershire, England) [sold, The Marlborough Gems, Christie's, London, June 26th, 1899, lot 136, to Constantine Alexander Ionides (acquired for Ionides by Francis Edward Whelan).]

1899 - 1900

Constantine Alexander Ionides, Greek, 1833 - 1900 (London, England), [collection number 127] by inheritance to his son, Alexander Constantine Ionides, 1900.

1900 - 1931

Alexander Constantine Ionides, 1862 - 1931 (London, England), by inheritance to his heirs, 1931.

1931 -

Heirs of Alexander Constantine Ionides, 1862 - 1931

by 1968 -

Lady Adam Gordon , grandaughter of Alexander Constantine Ionides

- 2001

Mrs. Diana Scarisbrick, born 1928, sold through Oliver Forge (London, England) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001.

Exhibitions
Archaeological Institute (June 1861)
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, (London), June to June, 1861
Rome on the Grand Tour (January 8 to August 11, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), January 8 to August 11, 2002
Classical Connections: The Enduring Influence of Greek and Roman Art (December 16, 2003 to November 9, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 16, 2003 to November 9, 2008
Grecian Taste and Roman Spirit: The Society of Dilettanti (August 7, 2008 to October 27, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, (Malibu), August 7 to October 27, 2008
Carvers and Collectors: The Lasting Allure of Ancient Gems (March 19 to September 7, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, (Malibu), March 19 to September 7, 2009
Bibliography

Fountaine, Andrew. The Arundel Cabinet. London: 1731. Case A, no. 133.

Story-Maskelyne, Nevil. The Marlborough Gems. London: 1870. no. 136.

Marlborough, George Spencer, Duke of. Gemmarum Antiquarum Delectus ex Praestantibus Desumptus quae in Dactyliothecis Ducis Marlburensis Conservantur 1780-1791. London: 1870. I, pl. 43.

Christie's, London. The Marlborough Gems. June 28, 1875 lot 136

Christie's, London. Sale cat., The Marlborough Gems. June 26, 1899. lot 136.

Boardman, John. Engraved Gems. The Ionides Collection. London: 1968. pp. 41 and 100, no. 62.

Ajootian, Aileen. "Hermaphroditos," Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae V (1990), pp. 268-285. p. 274, no. 27.

Oehmke, Stefanie. Das Weib im Manne: Hermaphroditus in der griechisch-römischen Antike (Winckelmann-Institut der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 4). Berlin: Arenhövel, 2004. pp. 64f. (with ill.), p. 132, no. 122.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 43, ill.

Boardman, John. The Marlborough Gems (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009) no.23

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 203.