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Aurora and Cephalus: M.6-1985

Object information


Aurora and Cephalus


Unknown (Maker)


Folding fan. Double chickenskin leaf, painted in bodycolour. Right, left and upper edge gilt. Sticks and guards of pierced and carved ivory (18+2). Rivet set is clear pastes. Front: painted overall with Cephalus and Aurora after the fresco by Annibale and Agostino Carracci (1560-1609) in the Palazzo Farnese in Rome, commissioned by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese (1573-1626) in 1595. reverse: Painted overall with a view of the Tiber and the Ponte Rotto, the ancient Pons Aemilius in Rome. Sticks: three shaped oval cartouches, each containing a chinoiserie scene: a boy holding out a chrysanthemum towards a seated man holding a pipe, with vases and flowering plants on each side. Guards: below the shoulder, a vase amid scrolls and flowers; above, scrolls, flowers and a Chinese figure.


History note: Colonel Leonard C. Messel (1872-1953); his daughter Anne, Countess of Rosse (1902-1992)

Legal notes

Purchased with a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and a gift from the Friends of the Fitzwilliam

Measurements and weight

Width: 48.5 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (1985-01-28) by Countess of Rosse, Anne


Second half of 18th century
Circa 1750 - Circa 1780


Aurora, goddess of the Dawn, fell in love with Cephalus, and carried him off in her chariot against his will. After the fresco by Agostino Carracci (1557-1602) on the window wall of the Galleria Farnese in the Palazzo Farnese in Rome. The frescoes were commissioned in 1595 by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese (1573-1626). On the reverse is a view of the Tiber and the Ponte Rotto, the ancient Pons Aemilius.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Leaf composed of bodycolour ( polychrome) chicken skin gilt Sticks+guards composed of ivory Guards Length 29.1 cm

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.6-1985
Primary reference Number: 117592
Old object number: DR 2/17
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 19 January 2021 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Aurora and Cephalus" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-05-22 17:48:20

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{{cite web|url=|title=Aurora and Cephalus|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-05-22 17:48:20|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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