Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.18207

    Intaglio seals

    late 18th century
    Unknown, Engraver
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    Content object
    Five gold mounted oval cornelian and chalcedony intaglios. Each is carved with antique profiles, representing Euclid, Thales, Archimedes, Aristides and Priam. Some are inscribed in Greek lettering. Together with their auction tags.

    The engraving of gemstones was a luxury art form in the ancient world, and intaglios were highly valued throughout the eighteenth century, their rarity and scarcity even encouraging the creation of imitations or fakes. These intaglios come from a collection of such fakes, commissioned by Prince Stanislaw Poniatowski (1754–1833) of Poland, who encouraged the belief that they were in fact ancient.

    Prince Stanislaw Poniatowski (1754–1833) of Poland was not a Fellow of the Royal Society.
    Object history
    This collection was sold after the death of Prince Stanislaw Poniatowski at a Christie’s auction in 1839 (April 29–May 21) and purchased by the Royal Society ('Object biographies and interdisciplinarity' AM Roos, Notes & Records, vol 73, no 3).
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