Catherine II seal sells for thousands

An 18th-century cornelian oval seal, with an intaglio carving featuring a ‘Horse frightened by a lion’ after George Stubbs has sold for a hammer of £19,000 at Ilkley-based Hartleys Auctioneers and Valuers.

Measuring 4cm x 3.2cm, the piece is signed in the stone, ‘C Brown F.’ in a gold scroll mount with a plain frame.

Charles Brown (1749-1795) and his brother William were gem workers, both of whom exhibited their work at the Royal Academy.

Between 1786 and 1795 the brothers received regular commissions from the court of Catherine II, Empress of Russia, and some 200 cameos and intaglios remain in the Hermitage in St Petersburg.

The seal in Hartleys’ sale was owned by a private family for at least four generations, and an outside expert suggests that it may be the original stone, while the one in the Hermitage was the second to be carved.