An Italian pierced enamelled gold roundel, circa 1570.

The roundel is naturalistically enamelled with the story of Diana and Actaeon, and was perhaps originally the reverse of a jewel, diameter 3.5cm.

It appears in the 1690 Devonshire Schedule, an inventory listing an enormous bequest from Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire (1619-1689), to her daughter Anne, Countess of Exeter (1649-1703).

Appearing under the heading ‘Gold Things’ is: ‘A Round openwork plate of Gold Enamel’d in little the story of Actaeon’.

The story of Diana, the Roman goddess of hunting and Actaeon appears in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Actaeon was a huntsman who chanced upon Diana whilst she was bathing. On discovering him, the furious goddess turned him into a stag and set his own hunting dogs to kill him.


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