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Theodore Allen (1800–1850)

Object Name: Relief
Date: ca. 1836
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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 )
Place made: Europe, Italy, Rome
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).
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. Jonathan Sturges
Object Number: 1870.2
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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: "Theodore Allen"

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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.


"The World of Asher B. Durand: The Artist in Antebellum New York," New-York Historical Society, March 13-September 30, 2007.