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Theodore Allen (1800-1850)

Object Number: 
1870.2
Date: 
ca. 1836
Medium: 
Wood, shell cameo, gold, silver, velvet, and glass
Dimensions: 
Overall: 2 1/8 x 1 1/2 x 1/2 in. ( 5.4 x 3.8 x 1.3 cm )
Marks: 
engraved: silver plate on back of housing reads: "Theodore Allen was the son in law of Luman Reed, The founder of this gallery, and was largely instrumental in collecting the works of Art contained therein". engraved: on silver strip below cameo: "Theod
Description: 
Bas-relief portrait: Cameo is housed in wooden arch-shaped case beneath glass and against aquamarine velvet; the case opens with two hinged doors carved with interlocking scrolling vines, with a medallion at the center as a handle (attached to one door only).
Gallery Label: 
According to Charlotte Gere, independent scholar, and James Draper, Kravis Curator of European Decorative Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, this cameo may be possibly by Giovanni Dies, who was the "greatest portrait cutter in shell" of cameos. Per visit with Stephen Edidin and Marybeth De Filippis on March 23, 2007. Charlott Gere will follow up on this. According to unsubstantiated tradition, this cameo was carved in Rome under the supervision of Bertel Thorwaldsen. Theodore Allen (ca. 1800-1850) was the son in law of Luman Reed. Although not an artist himself, he was connected with New York artistic activities. He was an honorary member of the National Academy of Design from 1838 until his death and was active in creating Luman Reed's collection which became the New York Gallery of Fine Arts.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mr. Jonathan Sturges
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group