19th Century Paperweight, Grand Tour Memento, probably Italian. In form of bronze Sphinx with marble base, ca. 1840s. base is 6 1/4" x 4 1/4" x 2 3/4" high. In excellent condition. Ex: Christie's New York. The New York Times recently described the Grand Tour in this way:
Three hundred years ago, wealthy young Englishmen began taking a post-Oxbridge trek through France and Italy in search of art, culture and the roots of Western civilization. With nearly unlimited funds, aristocratic connections and months (or years) to roam, they commissioned paintings, perfected their language skills and mingled with the upper crust of the Continent. Gross, Matt., "Lessons From the Frugal Grand Tour." New York Times 5 September 2008.