The Beverley Collection of Gems at Alnwick Castle

The Beverley Collection of Gems at Alnwick Castle
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Code article10185
The Beverley Collection of Gems at Alnwick Castle
320 pages
Color photos
Hard cover
25 x 21 cm
1,623 kg

The Beverley Gem Collection at Alnwick Castle is one of the most distinguished in Great Britain still in private hands. It reflects the longstanding interest of the English nobility in both assembling and commissioning gemstones. The Collection was begun by the First Duchess of Northumberland in the early eighteenth century; but the greater part of it was made later in the century by Algernon Percy, First Earl of Beverley, during a tour of Europe while in the company of his mentor, Louis Dutens. Their success in France and Italy was such that it incited the jealousy of the Empress Catherine of Russia, herself a passionate collector. The range of objects cameos, intaglios and finger rings of the highest quality is considerable: Greek, Roman and Etruscan, as well as a notable assemblage of neoclassical signed gems by British artists. One jewel clearly provided inspiration for Michelangelo s painting of Adam on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The Collection is little known, except by connoisseurs, but this volume brings to the attention of a broader audience many of the finest products of one of the oldest arts of the western world.