Monthly Archives: December 2011

Happy Holidays!

Card sent to Robert Byron from Evelyn Waugh. From the Robert Byron Papers. General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Cameo Appearance

In 1860 George Eliot and George Henry Lewes visited Rome, Italy, where Eliot obtained an engraved shell cameo which she and Lewes had jeweller Cesare Tombini set in a gold mount of Etruscan design.  In his diary for April 18th, 1860 Lewes describes purchasing the brooch: “Bought a Bacchante for a brooch, and two little heads (an Ariadne and Thebe) as shirt studs.  [ . . . ] The Bacchante we took to a goldsmith and there chose an Etruscan mounting.”

The brooch was passed down to Lewes’s son, Charles Lee Lewes, who gave the brooch to Georgiana Burne-Jones.

The brooch, which is now at the Beinecke Library, is accompanied by a sheet of mourning notepaper inscribed “Brought me by Mr. C. Lewes/in memory of my beloved/friend ‘George Eliot’ on Sun:/Sep: 17th 1882. He remem-/bers her wearing it years ago/G. Burne-Jones.”  More details are available in the catalogue record:  http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/10091737.