An extraordinary late Georgian 18K gold ring set with a carnelian carved into the leering face of a satyr classically portrayed with a goatee, a snub nose and pointed ears. The carved gemstone was likely already several centuries old when it was set into this ring. The expert carving is only eclipsed by the extraordinary artistry of the goldsmith. The bold shank is entirely covered in flower and foliage appliques expertly worked in rose, green and yellow gold. The carved stone is set in a bezel with matching decoration. The shank is stamped with an unidentified master goldsmith’s mark. Tested and guaranteed 18K gold.
Satyrs were companions of the god Dionysus/Bacchus. They had the ears, tails and other very specific parts of horses along with grotesquely comical human faces. They were noted for a great enjoyment of wine, women and general carousing.
The ring was purchased from the family descendants of the French artist Carle Vernet (1758-1836). Vernet was something of a dandy right up to his death at the age of 78, and according to family tradition, the ring belonged to him. Vernet was a leading equestrian painter at Napoleon’s court as was awarded the Legion of Honor by the Emperor for his depictions of great French victories. He was likewise favored by Louis XVIII during the Bourbon Restoration. During the Directory period, he was famed for his humorous watercolor caricatures depictions of the ridiculous fashions worn by Paris’ high society.
- Origin: France, ca. 1810 (carnelian considerably older).
- Finger Size: 6 1/2.
- Dimensions: carnelian crown, 13/16” x 11/16”; shank tapers from 1/2" at the edge of the crown to 3/8” at the back.
- Weight: 10.8 grams.