Reviewed: ‘The Marlborough Gems’

Posted in books, reviews by Editor on January 8, 2011

From the December issue of Apollo Magazine:

John Boardman, The Marlborough Gems: Formerly at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), ISBN: 9780199237517, $325.

Reviewed by Lucia Pirzio Biroli Stefanelli; posted 1 December 2010.

In the February 2008 issue of ‘Apollo’, Sir John Boardman described how he was devoting himself to the reconstruction of the most important 18th-century English private collection of cameos and intaglios, that of George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough (1739–1817). The result of this vast labour is a splendid and wonderfully rich volume written with the collaboration of Erika Zwierlein-Diehl, Claudia Wagner and Diana Scarisbrick, who contributed an analysis of the jewelled settings.

The Marlborough collection, comprising 800 intaglios and cameos covering all periods from antiquity to the late 18th century, became – along with telescopes – the duke’s main interest after he became disillusioned with the world of politics,
and retired. He kept his collection close at hand in Blenheim
Palace, where it remained until 1875 . . .

The full review is available here»