This cameo ring is probably a travel souvenir. It belonged to Hannah Terry Rouse (1819-1907), the widow of Edwin Rouse (1806-1862) of Rouse Hill House and it is likely that she bought it during her ‘Grand Tour’ of Europe in 1868-1869, when she was accompanied by two of her daughters and her younger son, Edwin Stephen Rouse. Hannah owned a copy of John Murray’s Handbook to Rome and its Environs which she bought while staying at the Hotel d’Angleterre in Rome in February 1869. This guidebook provided advice on where to buy antiquities, mosaics and cameos. Cameo jewellery was a fashionable memento of a trip to Italy and immensely popular during the reign of Queen Victoria. They often depicted subjects drawn from ancient Rome, such subjects being thought to connote the wearer’s connoisseurship, taste, and classical learning. Hannah’s ring features a profile of the Roman Emperor Augustus. It is made of moulded white glass adhered to a dark glass ground and is set in a twisted gold rope frame. Hannah is wearing it in a photograph taken in the studio of London photographers Elliott & Fry, perhaps taken shortly before her return to Australia.
HR101/20 + HR93/45-2 [photograph]