Collecting cameos and intaglios (engraved gems) was popular among connoisseurs and scholars of antiquity from the Renaissance through the 19th century. Gem collecting, however, can be traced back to antiquity. According to the Roman encyclopedist Pliny the Elder (Natural History, 37.4–6), both Pompey the Great and his rival Julius Caesar collected avidly. Engraved gems were held in high regard during the Age of Enlightenment as a way to uncover knowledge of the past while forming a personal association with the ancient world through ownership of its remains. Many original gems were found in Italy, and casts were created from the originals to allow the dissemination of copies—hardstone replicas, plaster impressions, and glass reproductions— of these great works from antiquity throughout Europe. This gem is part of a large set of extremely refined copies of gems (see also 2013.3.8 and 2013.3.9) produced for sale by James and William Tassie, prominent London modelers, collectors, and merchants of classical gem impressions during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Benefiting from the patronage of Catherine the Great, who ordered a complete set of his works in 1781 (which then numbered 6,076 items), James Tassie gained access to significant gem cabinets across Europe, and he eventually offered 15,800 items. Cast in brilliant emerald green, this gem is a reproduction of an ancient Roman onyx cameo signed by Sostratos (active at the time of the emperor Augustus, r. 27 B.C.–A.D. 14), now in The British Museum, London (inv. no. 1890,0601.37). The cameo depicts the partial scene of winged Cupid, god of love, leading a chariot drawn by two lionesses or female panthers. Below the scene is the artist’s signature in Greek. Because the ancient gem from which the cast was made is broken, the reproduction also reflects this fact. Signed: “CΩCTPATOY” (meaning “of or by Sostratos”), below the groundline. Unpublished. Related publications: Tassie 1775 (see 2013.3.8), p. 36, no. 1027; and Raspe 1791 (see 2013.3.9), p. 395, no. 6731. For more information about the original cameo and Sostratos, see Marie- Louise Vollenweider, Die Steinschneidekunst und ihre Künstler in spätrepublikanischer und augusteischer Zeit, Baden-Baden: Grimm, 1966, pp. 32–63, pls. 23–27, esp. p. 33, pl. 24.1.